Life is a lot of work. Just living every day takes a lot of effort.
It wasn’t always that way. When sin entered the world, the earth became cursed.
Genesis 3:17-19 (NIV)
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
God is saying “things will be harder now.” But this isn’t where the concept of work begins. God is the first to work hard. He embodies the concepts of work and rest.
Genesis 2 (NIV) 2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.3 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.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Both WORK and REST are part of the nature and actions of God. He creates the world, then rests from His work. Sin has not yet entered the world. There is no curse. But there are already work and rest.
When work and rest are out of balance, we suffer. Too much of one or the other leads to destruction. God institutes a day off in His law so we will rest and recharge – we need it. But the Bible is full of warnings against laziness.
In our quest to be like Jesus, we need both work and rest. Jesus is our example. He worked hard, and he withdrew to rest.
Mark 1:35-39 (NIV) Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Mark 6:30-32 (NIV) Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Work is a spiritual activity. When we work, we are like our Father, God.
God establishes in His law our right to own possessions and teaches us to work to take care of ourselves and our families. There is balance here as well – those who can work should work, those who can’t should be taken care of.
Exodus 20:15-17 (NIV) 15 “You shall not steal…17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
2 Thessalonians 3 (NIV) Warning Against Idleness
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
1 Timothy 5:3-8 (NIV) 3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Colossians 3:23 (NIV) 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…
Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
– Are you working hard, or hardly working?
– What do have to share with others?
A story –
Hard work doesn’t mean you’ll get rich. But when you do all you can and then place your trust in God, He comes through. Mom worked, then couldn’t work and had to take disability. Dad worked nights and went to school during the day. I learned to work.