So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. Hebrews 4:9-11
Sometimes taking it easy just isn’t an option. The circumstances of my life demand action, and it would be counterproductive, even unfaithful to sit on the sidelines. Though I sometimes yearn for a laid-back lifestyle, I feel clear that God has called me to a life of intense activity – at least for the time being. Not all activity is created equal, however.
There are times in my life that I am furiously engaged with work that consumes my entire attention; yet, despite an apparently overwhelming workload, I brim with energy. I find dynamic power in this work. This labor flows out of a life joyously surrendered to God.
But I’ve experienced another kind of activity. It’s just the opposite of the open-hearted, full-throated, life-giving labor of the reign of God. Rather than an expression of overflowing energy, this kind of work is powered by the clutching drive of ego. It is labor that consumes the laborer, a spinning wheel that keeps accelerating, never satisfied until it burns out.
There are always good reasons I give myself for engaging in this life-denying type of activity. It’s important work, I say. I’ll convince myself that I need the money, status, career advancement, recognition, or anything else conceivable that is external to the work itself. I keep going, not because the work itself is my purpose in life, but for some other reason – usually an imagined pay-off in the future. That’s the game, as Uncle Screwtape put it.
But it’s not a game I want to play anymore. I need to give myself fully to the work that God has created me to do. I want to act, not out of hope for gain or a desire for control, but rather for the sake of the adventure that comes from following Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength!
What would it mean to let go of all those activities that I perform out of fear, rather than hope? How does my life need to change to truly embrace Christ’s purpose in me? How would it feel to walk out of the open doors of the prison I’ve put myself in for so long?