by Joseph Franks
Many are they who are lazy. They are sluggards, and they are sinful. They could read in the book of Genesis how God created the perfect man to work as His image-bearer. They could then continue through the sacred text and read the will of God presented in the Fourth Commandment — a man ought to glorify and enjoy God by spending one-sixth of his time laboring on behalf of God and neighbor. The diligent one could then continue on to read God’s book of proverbial wisdom and be hit again and again with the fact that God condemns the slothful and commends the diligent. But frankly, such passive and self-indulgent individuals will not read these texts and be moved to action. Why? Because they are too lazy to read, too lazy to repent, and too lazy to apply. All of this because they are too busy doing the least amount of work possible.
Friends, as we see ourselves in such a condition, let us repent. Even if I have overstated the case and we are fairly faithful laborers, but we find we have lost our excellence and Gospel drivenness to labor well, let us repent. Our work matters to God. It is what He has intended for us to do with 85% of our time. In the church, out of the church, all our work is sacred. So whether we work at school, or in the office, or in the field, or in the church, or in the home; and whether we work for our boss, or our family, or ourself, or our flock, or our dog; let us get busy and do it all for the glory of God. The Gospel comes to us in our sin and frees us from our sin. Therefore, as we find ourselves more and more coming into conformity with Jesus Christ, we should see an increase in our industriousness. Hard work is holy worship. Go do it!
Yet sadly, there are some who take a good thing and turn it into a bad thing. There are many who take work, and instead of worshiping God through work, they end up using work as a means to worship themselves. They have forgotten why they work. They have forgotten for Whom they work. They have forgotten His ethic in how they work. They have forgotten Him who blesses and prospers their work. And they have forgotten when He, who orders them to work, orders them to cease from their labors. Yes, for six days each week ,man is to labor and worship God through working. However, one day each week, man is to worship God by not working but holidaying. Friends, such a sacred balance is wise, and such sacred is required in both the Creation Ordinances and the Fourth Commandment.
Therefore my fellow reader and sinner, let us read, be wise, and honor God. Let us keep working incredibly hard, and then find our weekly day of rest wherein we celebrate a sacred holiday with our Heavenly Spouse. Perhaps the words of the Psalmist will drive the point home:
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2)
Sacred balance is what we need. Redeeming the time is the duty of all worshipers. However, part of redeeming the time is spending one sweet day, especially and differently, focusing on the Lord who builds the house, giving honor to the Lord who watches over the city, worshiping the One who gives bread to his creatures, and relaxing in the arms of the God who gives sabbath and shalom to his beloved sheep who desperately need sacred balance.