Friday, September 4, 2009

A Labor Day Every Week

I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled about the Labor Day holiday this coming Monday. I have nothing planned, but that's what makes it so wonderful. I can feel my nerves relaxing a little just thinking about a break from the routine, the busy-ness, the LABOR.

Oddly enough, I just made a note about something I read in Scripture this past week, and I realized that it's the perfect devotional for a Labor Day weekend. I realized that God gives us a Labor Day every week!

It's a commandment actually. One of the Big Ten. We're supposed to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. God wants us to perform our labors in six days, but on the seventh day we're supposed to (gasp!) rest.

That's quite a concept in our culture. Even if we don't go to our jobs, do we really find time to rest--on any day of the week? I'm not trying to be legalistic here or talk about rules. It just struck me as an interesting contradiction. Our culture values busy-ness, productivity, and achievement. But God knows we also need rest. We need to quieten our minds and be able to concentrate on spiritual things. On Him.

Even on my Christian writers' loop, during a discussion about trying to find writing time, someone suggested that if nothing else, we could possibly cram in a few hours' writing time on Sunday afternoons between morning and evening church, because that was usually a quiet, slack time. Hmmm...

I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with writing on Sundays. But if it's become another chore to fit in, another that resting from our labors?

Last week's Scripture reading was from Ezekiel. God was reminding the prophet that he gave his people the Sabbath day of rest "as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I, the Lord, had set them apart to be holy, making them my special people."

The suggestion here is that it was unusual even back then for people to take time away from their labors. I picture the temptation to the people of Israel if their heathen neighbors had one extra day of productivity every week. Were they afraid of falling behind? Not getting as much produce to market? Not producing as many goods? Losing out to the competition?

Were they just like me, in other words?

If God were a harsh taskmaster, mainly concerned with their productivity, he wouldn't have taken away one-seventh of their workdays. Instead, God showed them that he could prosper them when they relied on him instead of relying on their strength. Their work. Their schedules.

That's a reminder I constantly need. Even during this three-day weekend. Because in addition to thinking of being away from my job, I've also started compiling lists of the house-cleaning chores to catch up on, and the stuff I need to do for my online shop, and the writing, and the blogging...

I'd say I definitely need to readjust my focus!


  1. Robin, you said, "God showed them that he could prosper them when they relied on him instead of relying on their own strength."
    That is exactly right! And that's what he's been showing me lately, especially about my writing. When I rely on him, things fall into place. When I rely on myself, thinking I have to make something happen, things fall apart.

  2. A good, thought-provoking post, Robin. Our pastor had a great sermon along those lines on Sunday. It's like we have to "work hard" to find time to rest. Pretty crazy!

    Glad you liked the witch doctor story on my interview with Christina. Wow, that was an experience we'll never forget!