and…Rest

and…Rest

By Becky Jungkuntz, University Lutheran Chapel, Ann Arbor

And – it’s a little word.  It doesn’t always feel like an important word. Yet it can mean the difference between truth and lie, health and sickness. That little word keeps things connected that need to stay connected and holds things in balance that need to be held in balance.

Because it’s a little word, it’s easy to ignore and suddenly life is out of whack.

As I think about the challenge in a recent sermon to give my all to God in terms of my work and vocation, I found myself reminded of my need for AND in my life.

I love the Scripture, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord…”  The challenge to fully live out our vocation, doing our best at our jobs as a way to honor and glorify God, resonates with me.

Yet over the past few months I have found the Lord reminding me of an important And. Work and rest. “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.”

I’ve been doing a Bible Study called Catch your Breath: God’s Invitation to Sabbath Rest by Don Postema. Through it, I’ve been challenged to begin to reevaluate my approach to work AND to rest. What can look like a desire to glorify God in doing excellent work can quickly turn into perfectionism or workaholism, which neither glorifies God nor blesses the people around me.

Here are some of the nuggets from Postema’s book that I’ve been mulling over:

  • “When we cease from work, we show ourselves to be labor’s master. Like God on the seventh day of creation, we can look back and say, ‘I rule my work, my work doesn’t rule me.’ For a period of time we can say, ‘I’m finished.’ Even when our work is not complete, we can say, ‘I’m done.'”
  • “Remember the Sabbath day” is a word about work. There is nothing wrong with work. It is one necessary component of the divine rhythm. Yet we often give work the strongest emphasis in the rhythm. Sabbath emphasizes the second part….Sabbath is a time to enjoy God. Sabbath is an opportunity to gain perspective, to remember that our lives have a focus and a purpose larger than our day-to-day activity. We realize that we are important as humans beings created in the image of God and not just for our usefulness, our productivity.

I’m not yet where I believe God wants me to be in terms of keeping this AND in place in my life, but I’m grateful that I’m hearing God’s invitation to put this important AND back into my life and in that way give both my work and my rest – my all to Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto me and rest;

lay down , O weary one, lay down, thy head upon my breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was weary, worn, and sad;

I found in him a resting place and He has made me glad.

                                                                   (Horatius Bonar)

To read another response to this article and hear the sermon click here.


Editor’s note: this blog was originally published on St. Luke Lutheran Church of Ann Arbor’s church blog at http://stlukeaa.org/and-rest/. Used by permission.

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