Posted by: Brian Musser | May 18, 2014

Rest as Trust

Work-Ship – Week Six:  The Limits of Work – Day Thirty-Nine:  Rest as Trust

Rest flows from trust and develops trust. So many times with students I am in a conversation about how they do not have time to rest.  They have to keep moving.  They have to keep working.  They are afraid that if they rest they will fall behind in their classes or at their job and never be able to recover from it.  This is not a unique feeling to students or to Western culture.  Let’s examine a somewhat obscure passage of Scripture.

Nehemiah 10:31 (NIV) When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.

If you are in an agrarian society work does not mind the days of the week. There is just as much that you need to do on a Sabbath as any other day of the week. Crops still grow on the Sabbath. Sheep still get lost on the Sabbath. When you are a businessman it will have a negative impact on your income when your competition is willing to work an extra day that you are not. So we see in Nehemiah that there are foreigners outside of Jerusalem’s gate waiting and wanting to do business. It must have been difficult for the Israelites to turn them away. From a sheer time management perspective it seems that seven days of work must be better than six days of work and one day of rest.

Taking a day to rest is a matter of trust. Do you trust God to provide for your needs or do you think that it is completely dependent and entirely based on your own efforts? If it is only up to you then work, work, work. But if there is a God over the universe who has your best interests in his plan (maybe not your everyday comfort but your eternal peace) then you can take a day off to rest and to put your work in the proper context. Do you trust God to have your best interests in mind?
Does your current schedule demonstrate a trust in God? If yes how? If no why?

Now we do have an issue with trusting God and we have our reasons. The main reason we don’t trust God is our own sin. Sometimes we get that image thing backwards. Sometimes we create an image of God based on our experiences of humanity. We are not trustworthy so how can we imagine God being trustworthy? The question is do we not trust God because He is untrustworthy or because we are untrusting? If we are completely honest with ourselves we would have to admit that it is the latter. We don’t trust God because we don’t trust anyone. And this lack of trust creates the image of a very unsafe universe for us. We must work and constantly work because if we stop for a moment then we may lose. And when we lose we die.

Sin separates us from God so that it becomes unnatural for us to rest. Just as work can be a form of worship which allows us to display God’s image as we look like Him as we work. And we can ultimately glorify God through our work. Rest can be a form of worship that allows us to develop our trust of God and add to our worship when God works in our favor without our input being necessary.

How do we become better at resting? What do you think is a good amount of rest? Do you think you are more likely to “overrest” or “underrest?”


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