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The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt 1661-1669)

Leadership Wisdom – Divine Disclosure

Does God have feelings for us? If so, what kind of feelings might they be?

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Women preparing sandwiches at a Five Guys restaurant

Who Gets to Rest from Working?

In Exodus 20, God says that sabbath rest is for everyone, including “you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.” Each of us must take seriously the implications of this commandment for ourselves. And if we have authority over others in the workplace, we must make sure they have the opportunity to rest and refresh on a regular basis.

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An older couple sitting on a bench overlooking a beach

The Command to Work and Rest

The way we experience work and rest will vary with our situation and season in life. But no matter our context or age, we will honor God’s design and desire if we live according to a faithful and wise pattern of work and rest. 

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A father and child playing at the beach

The First “Holiday”

The word “holiday” comes from the older English phrase, “holy day.” The first holiday, therefore, was the day when God stopped working and “made holy” the seventh day. Scripture says we are to keep the sabbath holy in response to and in imitation of what God did on the seventh day. We keep the sabbath holy by ceasing from work and receiving God’s gift of rest. 

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The Harrowing of Hell as depicted in St. Mark's Church in Venice

We Are the Lord’s

No matter what happens, you belong to Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is not just any old powerless idol. He is the God who suffered for us.

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The Red Sea from the view of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's coast

The Lord Will Fight for You

We have to reckon with the destruction caused by the complex interplay of divine intention and the desires of humans in the Exodus story. And we also have to reckon with something else: Jesus ultimately entered this story. He ultimately answered the violence of the way things happen in this world by submitting to it.

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Finishing Your Work by Resting

If you are not quite sure what to do on a day of rest from work, God’s example of finishing the work by resting offers pertinent guidance. Find a time when you are resting to reflect on the work you have done recently. Take a delight in its goodness. Recognize ways in which your work is also part of a fallen world. Offer your work to the Lord in worship. Remember that God is sovereign even over your work.

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Why Did God Rest?

According to Genesis 2:1-3, on the seventh day of creation, God rested. Genesis doesn’t tell us exactly why God rested. But the fact that God also blessed and hallowed the seventh day strongly suggests that God rested for our benefit. God wanted us to know just how important rest is for our lives. 

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Unexpected and Foundational Rest

After creating the universe in six days, God set aside a day for rest. God’s action on the seventh day—or, better yet, God’s decision to cease working—is foundational for our understanding and practice of rest. If God rested, then surely those of us created in God’s image should also rest. But God’s example creates a compelling case for the importance and even the necessity of rest. 

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Two bear cubs playing in the snow

Creation Made to Frolic

Even as God created a world in which work is good, God also wove play and delight into the fabric of creation. Surely play and delight is good for me also, and it even reflects something of the nature of the God whom we worship who fashioned all creation. We worship a God who delights in play, and who made a universe where work is balanced not only by rest, but by the need to frolic.

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Blossoms on a red maple tree

Considering the Lilies

All creation reveals the Creator and the Creator’s glory. When we read Jesus’ exhortation to “consider the lilies” or “look at the birds of the air”, before jumping to the particular interpretation of such consideration that he drew in his Sermon on the Mount, we would do well to take time to actually consider the lilies—and also the mountains, trees, rivers, and clouds as well as the wild creatures of the skies, the hills, and the oceans.

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A birthday gift wrapped in bright pink paper

Unwrapping the Gift of Sabbath

Jesus said that the sabbath “was made for humankind.” God created the sabbath as a gift for us. Some of us have unwrapped this gift and delight in it. Others of us have still to unwrap it. Scripture will show us how to embrace the sabbath for God’s glory and our good. 

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