Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a time to work, a time to play/rest

Yesterday's post pointed out the need to slow down. In it I was not primarily thinking of needed sabbaticals or rest stops which we all need, and often don't get enough of. I was thinking of how we work.

Rest is important. We need those times where we kick back, relax and do nothing. Nothing at all. Maybe read from a book we really want to read from, get some extra sleep, best case: get away and enjoy some of God's good creation somewhere (and here), or maybe a place less strenuous like here (or more likely for us- here- here).

Today I want to remind myself and any reader of the importance of good old fashioned work. I may need to slow down in it, but I also need to be reminded of the goodness and value of work.

Work is not post-fall, but pre-fall. God put Adam in the garden to work it, and made and brought Eve alongside him to be his helper in doing so, as well as for the procreation of more humans to inhabit and rule over the works of God's hands. Work is a big part of who we are, made in the image of God. And it will go on forever.

Of course work now is bereft with problems that are the result of sin and the fall. It's now by the sweat of our brow and with thistles and thorns (Genesis 3). It seems like no matter what we do, there's always something undermining it. It takes plenty of endurance and perseverance to see a work finished, and hopefully well done.

We must be careful in reacting to our American bent (over here) to work excessively so as to fulfill our version of "the American dream" that we don't throw work overboard in the name of our faith. Quite to the contrary we need to be known as good workers who are not negligent in their work.

I find that when I'm discouraged it's easy for me just to throw in the towel and do nothing. But in Jesus we're called to good work. We're callled to a work that will bring rest to our souls, a work in which we are side by side with our Lord himself!

To the title, balance is not such a bad word in all this. We need to have fun and play in the midst of our work. We need to know when enough is enough. And also when we need an extended rest, recreation and rehabilitation. I love to work hard on something I'm interested in. But I also love to enjoy something just for the sake of enjoying it. I don't see this as wrong, but as a part of living as one of God's children in our Father's world. And I believe that someday we'll have this down perfectly, forever. Of course not having the limitations we have now due to the fall. But what we do now in its imperfection carried along by God's grace, perfectly fulfilled in God's ongoing grace in Jesus then.

What would you like to add to this? And where would your dream vacations take you?

Tomorrow: "Palisade Cliffs - doubt", from L.L. Barkat's book, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places


Rachel Mc said...

Work can be real challenging, and it is easy to get so wrapped up that you take work home and neglect other priorities in your life. What I am thinking about today is how much relationships play into your work environment. It is important to work on those relationships no matter how difficult the co worker seems. Sometimes it takes good old fashioned work to not only get your job done but to creat a work environment where everyone enjoys going to work. It is hard working with all the different personalities too....that takes good old fashioned work to have everyone get along.
When you described work as pre-fall it helped me realize that God intended work to be a part of our lives here on Earth. Someone once told me our work here is preparing us for whatever work is in heaven...interesting thought.

Anonymous said...

does anyone find it easier to relate to "work", if one has a paying job, as being that job?

sometimes i have a hard time defining what work is and what is not.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great comment. Yes, your note on relationships is so important and so very much needed. And like you say, that takes hard work- persistent, ongoing.

And yes, work is a part of who we humans are, made in God's image. To be true for us forever. But it will surely be more like play for us, I would guess, and can be like that sometimes for us even now. Though work is harder now, under the fall.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Work as part of one's livelihood has always been true. Of course in earlier times humans had to hunt for food- the men, while the women took care of the children, etc., etc.

But I tend to at least try to think of work for what it is, regardless of what I get directly out of it. Work involves a calling, and of course some of that can be volunteer work, or just something one likes or wants to do- like a calling. Of course it's especially nice for probably that minority who actually get paid and make a living through what they most like to do.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I don't know if I need to slow down at work - but I surely need to focus! that is my main problem - I am, as Paul warns against - beating at the air! so much of the time that I stay too busy and accomplish little.

Every Square Inch said...


I just posted on my blog about how tired I've been recently and how I'm seeking rest.

Thanks for this post.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I hear you. For a variety of reasons at times it can be so very hard to focus. I'll pray for you on that.

Sometimes it does help me to focus better when I slow down, though sometimes that's utterly impossible- but I try to slow down in my spirit, trying to be relaxed amidst all the pressure (in my case, mindless body action in factory work).

I would like to do something different bearing some similarities to what you do minus the wonderful scientific and professoral aspect of that, of course- but I'm sure I'll need breaks of rest and even play around such work, to really be able to focus well. And alot of prayer.

And it helps me, when I'm overwhelmed with a task to think in terms of one small step at a time, and keep going those small steps.

But you know all that already, I know!!! Just sharing what I try to do, but my pressures and responsibilities are nil in comparison to yours, as far as "work" or vocation goes.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I look forward to reading it.

Hope you have a vacation, soon. I'm enjoying mine, even though it's a stay at home one- this week, and looking forward to family coming. It's work this week, yet fun and relaxation and just being away, and it's good!

Will pray for you, and for renewed strength for you, brother.