I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Glynnis Whitwer
(Proverbs 31 Ministry Devotional)
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2 (NIV)
There’s an old adage that says, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”
Clearly, the person who wrote this — and the people who repeat it — believe being busy is very wrong. But what if God is actually pleased with the right kind of busy?
Could the problem be our definition of busy? Maybe what we really mean instead of busy is frantic, overwhelmed or too busy.
The dictionary defines busy as something quite pleasant: “actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime.” That sounds great!
Yet, it’s too easy to look at our chaotic lives, cluttered homes and fractured relationships and think the problem must surely be that we are busy. But how can being attentive and engaged cause those problems?
Unfortunately, sin has distorted God’s gift of work. Too many of us are working more than we should, or we are busy with the wrong things, things that aren’t ours to do. Consequently, we are experiencing levels of emotional and physical exhaustion that impact our ability to enjoy God’s gift of rest.
God designed work to be a healthy part of our lives, not drive us into the ground. It’s how we live out our God-given design and use our gifts and talents. God even opened the entire Bible with an example of work. But He also made sure to model rest as well. Our key verse shows us the importance of both: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2).
Yet sin leaves us wounded in every area of life, and work is no exception. Sin broke the divine work/rest rhythm God established, so it’s not surprising we don’t have a healthy view of how these two major components of our lives should complement each other.
There are so many lies that prod us to work more than we should, but each one has the same root Satan used on Adam and Eve: We are our own providers, and we know better than God.
When we feel that our safety, security and significance depend on us, we will not know when to stop working. We will push ourselves beyond capacity. And we will take on more than we can handle.
The alternative is so simple, yet so hard. It’s what God wanted all along. He wants us to trust Him. Trust Him with our daily needs. Trust Him to open doors of opportunity. Trust Him to define our identity.
If we truly trusted God, we would not look for work to supply our needs. God would be our provider and work would be our calling. And rest would be a gift, not something we resent because it keeps us from working.
For so many years, I thought I could manage my over-busy life with smarter productivity tips alone. Those worked for a while, but I always got myself back into chaos, because I never addressed the root cause of why I tend to be too busy.
This is the journey God has had me on for the past few years. He’s been trying to teach me that His plan for work was never intended as a burden. And that His gift of rest is one I shouldn’t reject.
When I started to really honor the Sabbath, to understand rest as God meant it, the Lord removed the chains to over-work that I could never shake off.
God has wired me to work, and I need to accept it. But I’m also created to work best when I submit to God’s plan, which involves rest. I’m learning that it’s OK to be busy, so long as I do it God’s way.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to reflect on: