How the Sabbath Keeps Work From Being the Meaning of Our Lives
Humans were created by God for work (Gen. 2:15). For the Christian, life without work is meaningless, but work must never become the meaning of one’s life.
At the end of the creation story we read,
So on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
God rested not because he was tired, but because he had “completed his work” (Gen. 2:2). He wanted to show us that work is not an end in and of itself. This is why he instituted the Sabbath. He repeats this idea again in the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:8-11).
Today our culture views work as what supplies our identity and gives meaning to our lives by maximizing success and money through our labor. Our work is never done, and the constant drive to prove ourselves destroys our ability to find rest.
This distortion of work’s purpose cripples our chances of finding true joy and fulfillment in our work. When divorced from God, all work degenerates into pure self-centered ambition.
How then does the Sabbath deliver us from always feeling stressed, exhausted, and running on empty?
Correctly practicing the Sabbath brings about a new spiritual understanding of work and the whole of our lives. The Sabbath isn’t for rejuvenating ourselves to be more productive. Nor is it only for the pursuit of pleasure.
Instead, the Sabbath is meant for time set aside to enjoy God, joyful worship with his people, his glorious creation, time with family, and your accomplishments, achieved through God’s help.
The Sabbath is a time to unplug from our vocational work. Hebrews 4:11 says that we have to labor diligently to enter God’s rest. We have to work hard at disconnecting from what we do the other six days and really enjoy the peace and release God designed for us on this holy day. Keeping the Sabbath has to be intentional.
Setting aside one day in seven to observe the Sabbath will begin to change the way we see our work and what it can and cannot accomplish. We should love the vocational work God has given us so much that he makes us take time off one day every week. Let Sabbath rest rejuvenate you and your work.
Dear God,Thank you for giving me work and calling. Remind me that my identity is in you, and not work. Help me rest every week to enjoy you, your creation, those around me, and to reflect how you bless me every day. Amen.
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IFWE, www.tifwe.org, is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) Christian research organization committed to promoting biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society.