In his fine book, The Unhurried Life, Alan Fadling reminds us that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. Thus, instead of plunging into a full work-week where the original couple would tend the garden (Gen 2:15) and rule the earth (1:28), they entered quietly into the seventh day: sabbath rest.
Fadling asks a profound question: What if rest comes before work?
Myself, I’m programmed for productivity. If I’m not getting something done, something’s wrong. If I can’t produce, I feel guilty. It’s how I grew up in hard-working small town America, on the prairies of southern Minnesota.
One day during covid hibernation this year my wife Sharon said to me, “You’re always working.” Another time she observed, “You work too much.”
I suppose I’m rather addicted to work. Indeed, many of us fall into an unhealthy pattern of “sprint hard all week . . . drop dead of exhaustion for a day . . . restart the cycle Monday morning.”
The book of Hebrews, however, envisions something more revitalizing. It calls us to enter “God’s rest” (4:10) — that is, enter our salvation, which is a permanent seventh day (so to speak). It’s a quality of life.
Fadling suggests, “Sabbath rest is primary.” Work, then, flows out from rest. I find this to be a radical thought.
Next post: My pandemic experience of putting the priority of rest to the test, and how it affects productivity.