Rest and Work: Conclusions
In conclusion, rest is intended to remind people of the inestimable privilege of being created in God’s image. The hallowing of the seventh day is God’s gracious invitation to enjoy an intimate communion with him and to delight in his creation. Yet because of humanity’s sin in the Fall, work, which God originally creates as good, now becomes painful and frustrating.
Even as physical rest is necessity to survive, human limitations point to the need for spiritual rest too. With the exception of those who work in slavery-like conditions, chronic overwork arises from a disbelief in God’s provision and attempts to take matters into human hands. Work addiction has its roots in deep fears and insecurities. Without the drum-beat of constant work, some people may be insecure about future stability, identity, or self-worth.
Into this vicious cycle, Jesus enters as the “lord of the sabbath,” the one who is greater than the sabbath and accomplishes what the sabbath law can never do alone. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection restore peoples’ relationship with God. Once again humanity can work in partnership with God and rest in his presence.
Each individual has the freedom to choose wise rhythms of work and rest for him or herself. Yet ultimately, it is faith in Christ that leads to a deeper spiritual rest. Jesus offers to take each believer’s burdens, and he means it. The God-given identity that Jesus provides for each person who follows him gives Christians both the strength to seek out physical rest and the courage to advocate for the freedom of others. Yes, there is always a future God’s people can hope for with more satisfying work and more pleasant rest. In the meantime, however, Christians can follow God’s lead and throw themselves fully into both work and rest.