On Sabbath and Work: Gen 1:26 to 2:1
I used to think that since God created on Day 1-6, then rested on Day 7, I am to work and then rest also. For many years, I followed this empty-refill pattern: poured myself out in my work, then recovered on Sabbath day.
When I re-study Genesis, I was very surprised to see that
God had set different work-patterns for mankind than for Himself!!
God loves us so much, he made us just in time to enjoy the first Sabbath.
As loving parents preparing a home for their soon-to-be-born child, He prepared the Earth for us. Then He created us so we can first rest in (first day after the creation of human kind is… SABBATH!) and enjoy Him—which prepared us for the work He had ahead for us.
We are to first rest and fill ourselves with God’s love, grace, blessings, and motivation for work, enjoyed the fruits of His/our labour. This empowers us to empty ourselves for work in following 6 days.
Fill your “gas-tank” before emptying it.
This entirely changed my energy level and my understanding of work and rest. It made me much more productive and energetic, without any extra efforts (for those who love their work as much as I do, it was a lot of effort to actually stopped working for one day of the week!).
6d work + 1d rest = 1d rest + 6d work (A+B = B+A)
Now, instead of using my Sabbath to “recover from work,” I am using it to charge up, to get me ready to face the following week. A forward-looking view-point; a future oriented framework.
“He gives to His beloved…”
This principle also apply to sleep. I am learning to think of bedtime as the beginning of the following day. Instead of using sleep to recover from the day’s work, I try to think of it as preparation for the next day’s work.
Update: Jeff pointed out something awesome in response to this post. The first chapter of the entire Bible used this language: “And there was evening and there was morning, the [n-th] day.” Evening comes first and then morning–it was part of the creation order that the night’s rest is the beginning of the next day. The word “eve” means just that; as in “Christmas eve” – i.e. Christmas evening. A practical way that this was shown is how the Jewish people celebrate the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.
Thank God for Sabbath and sleep. Obeying God in the wisdom of Sabbath and sleep has paradoxical effects: it simultaneously humbled me (my weaknesses in needing rest and my dependence on Him who doesn’t) and built my confidence (in His providence and His sovereignty over my work).
Maybe Sabbath and sleep is God’s way of teaching our self-important species (myself included!) that we are not God, that the world goes on without us, and that His grace is what made our work fruitful.
We have all experienced this, right? We work our bottoms off, but nothing comes of it. What made the difference? Chance?
Psalm 127:1-2, ESV
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Are you His beloved?
[Incidentally, Genesis 1 is the big picture creation narrative; while Genesis 2 is the zoomed-in version. There is no conflicts, just a poetic way to weave the (hi)story.]