The hard work of relaxing

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"A stitch in time saves nine."
"Make hay while the sun shines."
"He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son."
(Proverbs 10:5)


In the bible's story of creation, the seventh day never ends. It's the day when God rested from all his work. Rest is a good thing, something to look forward to and enjoy. But in order to get it and enjoy it rightly, work must be done first. There are no short cuts here; there's a time to work, and a time to rest. If you rest during the work time, you pay for it later. That's a fact of life we'd do well to keep reminding ourselves of.

It's seen in all aspects of life. A slow start in the morning can mean a late night of working. Failing to pay off the bills and debts leads to more serious problems to come. Even in family life: put in the hard work of training a baby saves a huge uphill struggle in future months; teach a toddler discipline, and the later childhood years become a greater joy by far. Life functions well when we work hard at the time to work. Rest comes when the job is done at the right time.

That is the pattern of life as God has made it. It is true in an ultimate sense too. The bible story unfolds to reveal the 'seventh day' as the ultimate rest - when God's people will enjoy being with him in the perfect new creation for ever. What joy! What rest! But now is the time to work. As Christians, we have been given the task by Jesus to 'Go and make disciples'. He never promised us an easy time now; in fact he told us to 'take up our cross daily' and follow him. Trials will come for our growth and discipline.

So let us not grow weary in our work now. Keep our eyes fixed on the rest to come, which we will enjoy for all eternity. But in the meantime, the 'crops need gathering', and the 'harvest needs bringing in.'