by Abraham Cremeens
How did you answer the last time you were asked, “How are you doing?” At some point in your reply, you likely offered “busy” as a label. Some wear it as a badge of honor. If you didn’t say, “busy,” some people would think you were lazy and unproductive in life. Being busy isn’t sinful in and of itself. But it certainly can be.
- Do you struggle with “workaholism”?
- Do you have anxiety or panic attacks as you manage overwhelm?
- Has your health suffered from no margin for self-care?
- Has it been years since you had any bandwidth for a hobby?
- Can you recall the last time you laughed?
- In the last six months, have you sat down with a friend with no agenda?
Our culture has become out of control in its busyness. It is literally killing people with stress-induced toxicity. Unfortunately, it has also brought with it a false dichotomy of only two bad options. You must either be a lazy bum or crazy busy. God offers a third way: a rest-fueled way of life and work.
It begins by looking at God himself. He, the infinite and eternal God, who has no limit at all in the energy he expends, rested. He modeled rest in the very fabric of creation:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:1-3, ESV)
God didn’t need to rest... and yet he did. In fact, this proves that rest is not a deficiency. It is godly. It is something good, holy, and beautiful that God himself engaged in as an example for us. God created rest, so it is not something we can ignore.
Second, it is important to note that God commanded rest:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11, ESV)
Putting these two passages together, it is evident that God gave both work and rest as gifts to embrace. Both can be abused, but both fit into the DNA of how God created his people. God is not opposed to hard work. In fact, he commands it in verse 9, and verse 11 reminds us that God worked. But God is opposed to a life of work without rest.
Something I am (slowly) learning is that God himself crushes the false dichotomy. Ambition and a solid work ethic are not opposed to rest. They are fueled and made possible by it. It is in seeing and honoring our limits that we actually accomplish what God has for us to do and in the way he wants us to do it.
There is much more to be said on this topic, but I want to speak to men for just a moment. Brothers, if learning how to better pursue this third way (God’s way!) interests you, then don’t miss our Men’s Summit on September 17-18. We will invest time together in God’s Word as we seek to grow in living a rest-fueled life. So, sign up! Begin praying. Meditate on the verses above and prepare for this very important conversation.
You can find more information about the summit and register here: