Happy Labor Day – a time to rest. Traditionally this is how it works. We labor; then we rest. We push and pull and put nose to grindstone, then when we’re spent and finished with the job, we pull up and ease our tired bones. Work to rest. This was the pattern in the Old Testament. God labored for six days and then rested on the seventh. This seems to be the pattern he prescribes for us. Work after all is good. We’re made to be productive. And one of the Commandments calls on us to rest on the seventh day…
But… Consider the deeper mystery here. God created humans on the sixth day, his last day of labor. The man and woman spent their first full day of being in God’s day of rest. In other words, they began with rest, not work. This is a fundamental truth that is well expressed in the Christian rhythm: we begin our week with a day of rest. We start on Sunday, resting and worshipping and related to those closest to us. We then move to work, but it is work from rest not work to rest.
Today as we honor labor as a movement in our culture and as a core concept of human life, let’s recall the true pattern God has prescribed. We work from rest. Rest comes first. Then we labor toward a productive end.