ZU Magazine is a publication of ZU Media. The following is an article from Issue 5: Revolution.
ZU Radio General Manager | Toph Buzzard
“The grind don’t stop.”
This is the phrase that has taken over social media hashtags and the American mindset, so much so that it is no longer rare to see American workers finish the calendar year with unused vacation time.
Even on the weekends, the perception is that if you aren’t busy, you are doing something wrong. Our American culture breeds busyness and values productivity.
But what if the grind was supposed to stop just for one day?
Genesis 2 is the end of the creation story. God had finished his job of creating the earth in six days and on the seventh day, he rested. Not only did he rest on that seventh day, but the Bible says that God named that day blessed and holy.
This proclamation then leads one to wonder if not resting as God did is a sin.
Exodus 20:8-10 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you should labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.” This is one of the Ten Commandments.
God himself resting in Genesis 2 and rest making the list of Ten Commandments is strong evidence that God takes rest seriously. It also seems to indicate that God knew that people would struggle to keep the practice of rest.
America’s workaholics confirm that God knew what he was talking about.
Tyler Swaney, High School Pastor at Bayside Church, Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Seminary Alumni, said that people distort the intended relationship that God set for us between work and rest.
“The two [work and rest] are meant to occur simultaneously in our lives, but often we, along with people in Jesus’ day, make work the primary focus. God knows how easy this is for us to do, which is why he made it a part of the Ten Commandments, to show just how important it is to his heart, and how important it should be for us,” Swaney said.
Christian circles tend to have commonality when it comes to things that people struggle with. Whether it’s lying and gossiping or pornography and substance abuse, these subjects matter to garner the most attention when discussing the so-called thorn in the flesh.
But when is the last time busyness crept onto that list? When is the last time someone said, “I really struggle with not resting?”
For Christians to begin rethinking their philosophies on rest, they first need to start recognizing that resting is a command from God; it’s an order. If they don’t, it’s walking outside of God’s will.
“There was punishment for breaking the Sabbath in the Old Testament just like there was punishment for breaking any other commandment,” Swaney said.
The second step in rethinking rest is viewing resting as a privilege from God. It’s a practice that God desires for us so we can love him and love others to the best of our abilities.
Richard Miller, a Discipleship Mentoring Coordinator at APU, believes that rest is a key ingredient in the grand scheme of God’s plan for his people.
“The closer we are to God, the greater tools we are in His hands; the better we are able to love people, be compassionate, be the light of the world that God calls His people to be,” Miller said. “That is why Sabbath is important, not just for us, but also that we might bear fruit that will bless others and glorify God.”
Resting can actually help you treat other people the way God desires. When this perspective enters in, resting flips on its head from a selfish and wasteful act in American culture to a selfless and vital act according to Christianity.
Don’t mistake all this resting talk as an excuse to not work hard, though. It’s important to read and grasp what God did before he rested in the creation story. He worked for six days creating the heavens and the earth and then he rested.
God desires for his people to work hard. God desires for his people to rest. Ultimately, God desires that his people find a balance between the two.
However, according to John Mark Comer in his book Garden City, good work only happens when it comes off the heels of proper rest.
“Work and rest live in a symbiotic relationship. If you don’t learn how to rest well, you will never learn how to work well,” Comer said.
So, Biblically speaking, the grind does stop. It’s called the Sabbath.
Put that on a shirt and sell it in a Christian bookstore.