Rest for Your Souls

Labor Day weekend is upon us. This unofficial-end-of-summer holiday was first observed in 1885 and made a legal national holiday by Congress in 1894. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, Labor Day is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

But for most of us, the idea behind the day is to rest from our labors. Did you know that most Americans spend a minimum of 80,000 hours–or 10,000 days–of their lives working? Our work is a source of identity for many of us (“What do you do?”), and a source of pressure and struggle for most of us. Whether you hold a traditional job in the market place, or if you put in your hours toiling as a stay-at-home mom(or dad), your vocation is no doubt one of the dominant themes of your life. Full-time or part-time, inside or outside the home, for yourself or for somebody else, or even as a volunteer, our work always seems to find its way to the center of our lives.
Work has been a major topic for so many in the Shelby Crossings family over the past few years. We’ve prayed for several of you who have been seeking new jobs, and have been blessed to see answers to many of those prayers. For others, who work in a corporate world where “downsizing” is the order of the day, your jobs teeter on the brink of being eliminated at any time, adding more stress to your world. For all of us, there’s the stress of long hours, hard work, and trying to pay the bills with what we bring home. And we haven’t even mentioned having to put up with an ornery boss or a whining co-worker!
I hope you realize that your occupation is as important to God as it is to you, though sometimes we’re prone to lose our perspective a bit. God invented work, and He desires that we provide for our families–and honor Him–through our work. His word speaks volumes on the subject of work and His will for how we approach our vocation. You might even call the Bible…the book of “job.”(Did I hear a groan?)
Scripture tells us to rejoice in our work, and to do our best at our work, as unto the Lord. We are also told to count our blessings for the opportunities to work–both for the blessings of a job well done, and for the fruit of our labor through which the Lord provides for our needs and allows us to be generous to others. And yes, from the Sabbath of creation to the call of Jesus to come to Him and find rest for our souls, we are commanded to rest from our labors, and find our rest in Him alone. May these Scriptures encourage you in your work–and in your rest–as you head into this Labor Day weekend:

“What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves….I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor–it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-10, 12-13)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

“Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands. Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17)

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30)

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)
I’m so grateful to be able to “work” with you in such a wonderful church, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
–Pastor Ken