Americans are busy people. Work, home, civic duties, sports, kids, social activities and school all demand a share of our time. When Christians add to that mix a variety of church activities and responsibilities, it’s a wonder any of us find time to even bathe and sleep. Busy is not just our nature, it is our culture and demanded by modern life!
That isn’t all bad. There is joy in activity and value in feeling productive. Laziness was considered by the early church to be one of the seven deadly sins. Paul gave honor to all activity when he instructed the Corinthian Christians that whatever they did they should “do all to the glory of God” (I Cor.10:31). His statement almost equates doing with glorifying God, and if we had no other scriptures on the subject that might surely be the case.
But, good things can end up becoming detrimental when we let them drift out of balance and I suspect we may have done just that with our highly prized busyness. It is not only “doing” that glorifies God, but “resting” as well.
When God designed commands for moral behavior and worship attitudes, He included instruction that one day of the week was to be devoted to rest. Resting on that day was a way of bringing honor and glory to God. It was as much a good thing to rest as it was to refrain from stealing.
We should not be surprised at this because God, Himself, takes time to rest (Gen. 2:2). Although He does not need physical refreshment like we creatures of clay, He found rhythm and balance of work/rest to be a valuable thing and declared it “good.” Isaiah tell us that the resting place of God is a glorious thing (Isaiah 10:11b). Just as the day has one type of glory and the night another (I Cor. 15:41) so giving God glory through our work is one way we honor Him, but it is also true that we glorify Him by resting.
How sad when we only see activity as a way to glorify God and miss the glory of resting. In the classic, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster considers the word of Satan and states, “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in “muchness” and manyness,” he will rest satisfied.”
That is a sobering thought we should all take to heart.