When it came to work, Dad was preacher and task master. Daylight was for laboring not lounging – and especially NOT for watching T.V. In our family, watching television during the day was kin to bank robbery.
One sunny Summer afternoon my sisters, brother, and I were sprawled out in the family room – just four little felons glued to the idiot box - when our dad pulled into the driveway. Not good!!
Internal alarms sounded and we sprang into action. My sister jumped up and turned off the T.V. while the rest of us scurried out in search of any semblance of productive activity. If you’ve ever watched The Great Escape, we were the allies scrambling to get out of sight!
But dad was crafty! He would walk into the house, lay his hand on the top of the T.V., and see if he could detect heat. Busted!
My father is no longer with me, but his mantra is: Work, then rest! This admonition has served me well. It has helped me get started when I would rather sleep. It has pushed me to persevere when I'm pooped. And it has brought me the satisfaction of a job well done, whether that job was throwing 500 Sunday newspapers as a kid or pounding out 500 blog posts as an adult.
Work is God's design, not his curse. We see this truth in Genesis:
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground . . . . The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:5, 15 ESV).
Genesis reminds me, contrary to bumper sticker theology, that a bad day fishing is not better than a good day working. Work is purposeful. Our work provides an opportunity to serve others, it advances society, puts food on our tables, and furnishes creative outlets for our expertise. It also brings a sigh of contentment when rest follows a job well done. Work is good!
The message of the gospel reminds me that I don't work to win God's favor, but my work can definitely bring him honor. Today, bring honor to the One who gave work to you. Work, then rest!