Labor Day Musings: Need for rest


Today is Labor Day. It is a national holiday in the United States since 1882 when the first Labor Day was celebrated.  According to the governmental history on Labor Day the idea of the holiday was proposed Peter McGuire who also was a primary founder of the labor/union movements in the United States of America.  The day was all about taking a day to acknowledge the American worker. It was one of many reforms to the American workplace.

Essentially labor day is centered on the principle of rest. It was recognized that Americans put in long hours for little pay and bad conditions in the late 1800’s.  Taking a day to set aside all work each year was found to be a valuable, no better way to recognize those that do hard work but to give them an extra day of rest.  And so we have this day in the United States where rest is encouraged.

It is noticeable that while the late 1800’s focus worked hard at reducing the work day and improving working conditions that people are voluntarily doing things that folks like Peter McGuire fought to change.  We care more about expanding our own personal kingdoms that we willing work long, hard hours at times even without pay. The focus is on expanding self and making sure all ends meet, and we will do whatever it takes.  Most often at the expense of rest.

Rest is important.  God rested. God in his instructions as found in the instructions of law known as Torah emphasized rest.  God even emphasized rest in the Ten commandments.  God made it clear rest is important.  God not only pointed to a day of rest from self and focus on God known as Sabbath but He also prescribed rest for land and rest for debt.  God set up a perfect system of rest designed to work in accordance with the nature of creation. Yet, those principles have not been followed. Israel failed to follow the principles of resting land and debt and part of why they paid huge consequences.   If we do not take rest, it impacts us and impacts creation. 

So the question here than is if rest is so important and God set up directives to rest what do we do.  Well, we need to build and incorporate God’s principles into our lives.  We need to take weekly rest and focus on God.  We need to take time to cease from striving.  We need to take rest important. 

The emphasis God placed on rest is really a picture of redemption. It is about not striving in self and depending on God. It is giving people  a chance at restoration when things got difficult.  Sadly God’s principles of rest were ignored and set aside while folks seek to expand self and continual seek expansion of their kingdoms.  We fail to turn our hearts and minds to God, much less seek to depend on Him.  Ongoing surrender to God is the perfect rest and is made available through Jesus the Messiah.  God made clear that work and rest need to go together and that true rest is found on dependence on him.  However, rest comes difficult so much that the majority of people reject God’s rest found in Jesus the Messiah and continue to work toward that which benefits self.  Israel paid a great price for ignoring the Jubilee and for those that reject the true rest found in dependence and surrender to Jesus, the consequences will also be severe.  Yet, the choice is for each person either continue with self-striving or turn to God’s rest.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: