By, Isam Itson III
Genesis 2:2 and 3 – “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.”
We worry about our health. We worry about our finances. We worry about our safety and success. We worry about… We worry and we can’t sleep, so we can’t think clearly and we feel anxious and worn out. We try to sleep, but we are so wound up that we toss and turn, worried about how we are going to function the next day because we can’t fall asleep. We are more likely to say and do things that are thoughtless and unwise in our confusion, anger, and frustration.
The answer is beginning and ending our days and weeks remembering that God has literally taken care of everything. The word rested means to stop working and settle in. God stopped preparing and filling the earth with everything all of the living creatures would need to thrive. Humans included. He provided all of the wisdom and resources and people necessary so we could help each other honor his love and care for our fellow creatures. And on the seventh day God settled in to rule over his creation, with us in place as his subordinate rulers.
Therefore, at the end of each day’s work, I can stop and remember that everything that still needs to be done is already provided for. I can eat and enjoy my friends and family, and go to sleep knowing that God has provided and will provide everything we need for life and godliness. And then I can get up the next day with the hope, energy, and clarity necessary to address the tasks at hand in a way that honors God.
By blessing the seventh day as holy, God has declared that our happiness and fulfillment is tied in to habits that remind us that when we are not working God is still seeing to our provision, well being, and success. When we reach the end of our strength and wisdom, God’s power, love, and wisdom remain strong. We are not on our own. God is still with us.
Some of us can take an entire day to stop working and remember God’s goodness and faithfulness. This is called the sabbath. Some of us have to work everyday or our families will not be able to eat the one meal a day that our daily wages supply. Some of us may one day be in the position that we are enslaved and being worked to death in the most inhumane conditions imaginable. In those types of situations we cannot take a day off, but we can meditate and quiet our hearts and minds with the fact that God is in control.
In those extreme situations it is imperative that we keep remembering that God has defined the meaning and value for our lives in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We can pray in our hearts to God for the strength to keep looking out for the interests of our coworkers, and fellow refugees or captives. We can keep praying for our families and friends in economic and physical captivity. We can pray that our patient endurance will break the hearts of our assailants and captors and they will bow before God. We can thank God for his love for us and his Holy Spirit living within us.
We can maintain our hope and integrity as representatives of God’s love, grace, and glory no matter what life and godless people throw at us. And when we perish, we perish. But our faithfulness endures to strengthen those we leave behind. This is the happy, enduring, and fulfilled life God has prepared for us.
No matter what catastrophe strikes, no matter who or what we lose because of disease, disaster or economic upheaval, no matter what cruel humans attack us with, God will always provide enough for us to keep loving the people around us in his name. We may have to move, or change jobs, or alter our lifestyle, or endure under a soul crushing loss or burden, but we can keep living a meaningful life dedicated to loving God and honoring the well being of the people around us.
God remains faithful over everything, so we can remain faithful through everything. Our persistent faithfulness encourages others to begin placing their faith in God. This is how we honor God’s rule commemorated in the holiness of the seventh day.
What regular habits of thought and activity do you practice that help keep the presence, love, faithfulness, and sovereignty of God at the forefront of your mind in the midst of your busy life?