Well here we are, another Labor Day weekend. The official end of the summer tourist season, the beginning of another school year, the official start of the NFL and college football seasons, but most importantly, it is meant as a day of rest and acknowledgment of our labor.
It was established as a federal holiday in 1894 and falls on the first Monday of each September. Be it going to the beach, barbecues, fireworks, parades, and of course sales, sales and more sales at pretty much whatever store you may go to, Labor Day weekend is typically a good time with friends and family.
It’s a good thing to rest from one’s labors. God rested after creation, the Sabbath was established as a day of rest, the nation of Israel rested after the conquest of Canaan, and we rest on this holiday.
Labor Is a Good Thing
Ecclesiastes 2:24 NKJV: “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.”
Ecclesiastes 3:13: “…[A]nd also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”
Psalms 128:2: “When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.”
Proverbs 13:11: “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.”
Physical Rest, No Problem. Spiritual Rest, Another Story
No matter how hard we work, be it physical labor or mental work, we get tired and we need to recharge. We rest on the weekends, we rest after work, we rest on holidays. We recharge, we regroup, and we go back for more, day after day.
It is a blessing to get up and go to work, make a living, and as the aforementioned scriptures make clear, enjoy the fruits of our labor. But all the physical rest in the world is no substitute for the rest we need on a spiritual level.
We can many times find ourselves uneasy, off-balance; we are not hearing from God, we know that something is just not right. Physical rest can be achieved with a good night’s sleep, maybe a nap, a little down time, but what we really crave, what we really need and what can sometimes be evasive and fleeting is the rest in our souls that only God can provide.
Isaiah 28:12-13: “…‘This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,’ and ‘This is the refreshing.’…”
Isaiah 30:15: “…‘In returning and rest you shall be saved.’…”
Psalms 95:10-11: “For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
God is giving us His promise to provide rest for our souls. It is our obedience and surrender to His will that will serve to provide this rest. The nation of Israel was denied rest at a time when they were disobedient and went astray. Their hearts were far from the Lord, and therefore, how in the world could they possibly achieve the rest in their souls the Lord promised?
In this challenging world of ours, there can be a lot of distractions that separate us from God at any given time. It is then that we are vulnerable to not achieving that rest for our souls that only He can provide. Perhaps you are suffering through a trial, or maybe you have put idols in the way of your relationship with Him, or are being disobedient or not keeping in the word daily. Whatever the reason is, stop, regroup, drop everything and go to Him.
Jesus makes it so simple for us. He knows we are heavy laden, He knows we are tired and weary from our labors, but more importantly, He knows that we are weary and burdened in our souls. What do we have to do to get that rest that God has promised and that we so desperately seek?
Seek Him, humble yourself before Him, put aside the idols, and just go to Him. He wants to give you what you need, what I need, what we all need: Rest.