We were not created for toil, we were created for rest. We were placed into a finished work, for a finished work. The work that we do is already done. I have struggled to understand the Sabbath: a day of rest that people had to obey in the Old Testament or they would face death. The Sabbath isn’t about a day we obey, it’s about celebrating the finished work of Jesus!
Nothing can be added to what has been completed. From the foundation of the world, when God finished creation, we have lived in the finished work (Genesis 2). Man was at peace and without worry. We were designed for rest and so we cannot function properly without it. Unrest entered when sin entered and the fruits of unrest include, but are not limited to, anxiety, tiredness, toiling, weariness, heaviness and worry. It is sin to not rest. That sounds extreme; however, it is actually one of the ten commandments to obey the Sabbath, and a guy in the Book of Numbers was killed at the command of God for picking up sticks on the Sabbath! Unrest leads to death because unrest is sin. It may not seem as devious as murder, but it tells God, “What you did wasn’t enough, I’ve got more I want to add.” So, maybe it is more devious than we first supposed?
Our work must be a celebration of God’s finished work, not an attempt to maintain it. Six days of work and one day of rest will be more fruitful than seven days of work without rest, every time. It’s a truth that we look over for convenience because our schedules are too busy to think otherwise. We feel like we are getting more done by not resting, but we are actually just refusing to acknowledge what has already been done. From Genesis 2 to Revelation 22 we see a finished work. Honour the finished work by living in rest and not in toil. Not just in thought but in practice: schedule rest. There should be a time in the week when we say, “I have done what I can do, now I rest in what has been done for me.” Overworking ourselves for the Gospel ignores the point of the Gospel.
Return to rest. From the beginning it was finished! There’s more fruit in rest than there will ever be in striving. The world teaches us that we have to put more and more out to see more come in. The Word teaches us that we will be more blessed and more fruitful when we allow our souls to rest. Rest is holy and the fruit it produces is better than any we could work for.
Rest is more. The fruit of the finished work is better.