September 8, 2018 • Life for Leaders
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
A few years ago, while visiting a local synagogue, I heard a rabbi preach on Genesis. She delivered a deliberately thought-provoking line, saying, “you would be mistaken to say God did not create anything on the seventh day.” After a brief pause, in which many of us held our breaths, she said, “God created rest.”
One can surely nitpick her phrasing, but the rabbi’s point was clear. God did not intend for rest to simply be an absence or lack of something. Instead, rest was meant to be a priority, a thing to do. It was never superfluously tacked on to the end of work, but a necessary part of work’s rhythm. “God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested,” our passage reads (emphasis added). One had to follow the other. For as much as we like to look at the work God has done, do we also recognize him as the God who rests—as the God who knows the value and necessity of rest?
In our working lives, no matter what we do, do we value our own rest? Do we prioritize it, giving it equal respect as our work? I confess not being very good at this myself. Yet Genesis cements rest into the fabric of creation’s rhythms. Thank the Lord for that! I wonder what it would look like for us (especially those of us who struggle with this) to not only happen upon rest when the work is done, but to more intentionally seek it out in our lives. If God created rest, weaving it into his own pattern of work, I imagine that it would be a right, good, and even holy thing for us to create intentional moments of rest in the rhythms of our own lives.
Something to Think About:
Have you ever thought of God creating rest?
Do you intentionally make space and time for rest?
Something to Do:
Be purposeful about creating a rhythm of rest this week. See where that takes you.
God, we thank you that you are a God who values rest. Remind us of the importance there is in weaving rest into our regular patterns of work. Help us today as we create restful spaces, and may your Spirit be with us in our resting. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
God Limits His Work, Resting on the Seventh Day (Genesis 2:1-3)
Jerome Blanco works at Fuller Theological Seminary. He received his MDiv from Fuller Seminary and his MFA from New York University.