The Sabbath was set apart by God from the very beginning of the world as a day of rest. After He had completed the six days of creation, the Bible tells us in the Book of Genesis that, “God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.”
Later, when He gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, God reiterated the distinction between a time of work, and a time of rest. “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah thy God…” (Exodus 20:9-10)
We’re happy to remember the seventh day and to take the prescribed day of rest, but we ought to note the connection with the labor that precedes it.
Whenever I go out and about these days, I cannot help noticing signs on every shop advertising for workers, “Help wanted.” I cannot remember a time when there was so much of a need for laborers. The economic complexities behind this situation are not relevant to this Sabbath message, but something appears to have gone terribly wrong when there is such a dearth of willing labor in the workforce.
God was not slack in His creation. All of it was good, and it was fully complete. Nothing was left undone. Likewise, God instructs us in His Word that we, too, ought to be diligent in our labors.
“Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and the idle soul shall suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15), and “He also that is slack in his work is brother to him that is a destroyer” (Proverbs 18:9).
There isn’t much we can do as individuals to rebalance the labor market or correct the nation’s economy. Yet, we can, as individuals, be diligent laborers in whatever field the Lord has given us to tend. We can also pray to Him who holds the world in His hands, to bring laborers to the field – most importantly the mission field (see Luke 10:2), but also to every practical field of labor that makes our economy thrive and keeps our nation healthy.
Let’s be glad for a season of rest, and let us also renew our commitment to provide labor in its season, as the Lord leads, and as our strength permits.