Labor and rest

Whether it’s a day set aside for rest or it’s the middle of a busy workday, we can find the peace we need in humility and worshiping God.

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Like similar holidays in other countries, Labor Day in the United States was inaugurated to honor workers for their contributions to society. All who benefit their communities in any line of honest work are worthy of recognition. Thank you for your work!

Of course, we also need periods of rest. The Fourth Commandment states: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work...” (Exodus 20:8-10). So we might say God provides us with a law of rest through this commandment.

In its original intention, the sabbath is given as a day of rest and worship. These are fundamentally connected. It is in worship of God – quiet prayerful thought – that we find deepest rest.

And not only on the sabbath, but every day. Christ Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The “me” that we come to is Christ – the spiritual idea of God that comes to our thinking. In a sense, Jesus was welcoming his followers to see more of the divine nature – and understand their true selfhood, made in the image and likeness of God. When we come to the Christ, we find the harmony, peace, and rest that are naturally ours as the expression of God, Mind.

I experienced this on a day when I felt overwhelmed with the demands of my work and the noise in the office. I needed a few moments of prayer, so I went into a large closet that was nearby and shut the door. In that quiet space, I acknowledged God was present and in control of everything – me, the work, the world. He was the only cause, the only power. In this way, I was worshiping God. After a few minutes, I felt calm and inspired, and I returned to my desk. The atmosphere of the office also changed and became peaceful. I got everything done that needed to be done that day.

The Bible says: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). God, divine Mind, created us to express Himself, to express His doing in our doing. Our work is more than a response to God’s work; it is the divine at work in us. To acknowledge this fact is a fresh way to approach all we do. Every expression of good glorifies God. He supplies the ideas needed, and sustains us in the work.

Another key aspect of finding rest in worshiping God is humility. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes: “God rests in action. Imparting has not impoverished, can never impoverish, the divine Mind” (p. 519). So we find rest in action when we are humbly yielding to and serving God.

Recently I had an article accepted for publication. Then I got a call from the editor, who asked for some additions. My first reaction was, “Oh no, why are they asking this? It’s so difficult to fit something new into what is already finished.” Then I stopped. I asked myself whether I could acknowledge that God was governing everyone, including the editors. Could I trust that the Mind that made the demand would also supply the ideas needed to meet the demand? Could I be humble enough to yield to God and listen to others’ thoughts?

Yes, I could, because I had been learning that the first step in any work is the humility that acknowledges God’s allness, enabling us to set aside ego and discover more of our God-given ability and purpose. Every task becomes easier when we listen to God first.

Once I really humbled my thinking, the ideas came quickly. Soon I sent my addition to the editor, and it was accepted. The work had been restful, not burdensome or tiring, because in humility I had been serving – worshiping – God.

Humbly worshiping God and following in the way of Christ, we can let go of a physical view of ourselves and our work and rise to a higher understanding of life as purely spiritual, including unending rest.

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