Sunday I shared a Labor Day sermon from Psalm 127 in which the Lord, through the words of the Psalmist, addresses our tendency to be “crazy busy.”
Verses 1-2 are enough to get us going: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
In his excellent book, “Crazy Busy,” Pastor Kevin Deyoung describes the world we live in
“We have more opportunity than ever before. The ability to cheaply go anywhere is a recent development. The ability to get information from anywhere is, too. Even the ability to easily stay up past sundown is relatively new. The result, then, is simple but true: because we can do so much, we do do so much. Our lives have not limits. We eat (most of what we want, buy (most of) what we want, and say yes to (too much of) what we want.”
There is a delicate balance between the need for work and other activities in life, and the necessity of rest. From the very beginning God has established the principle of rest. God rested (Genesis 2:2). Later, when He gave the Law through Moses, he established the Sabbath as a day of rest. This was God’s gracious provision for a man to rest and recover, a time of spiritual reflection and worship, an opportunity for men to learn to trust God and strengthen their faith.
Unfortunately, we are not comfortable with rest. Instead of basking in the margin God tells us to find in life, we rush to fill the very empty and quiet moments He knows we desperately need.
When we do not let the Lord determine our priorities and the rhythms of our lives, we end up “eating the bread of anxious toil” or “the bread of sorrows.” It is sorrow while working and sorrow while trying to rest at night as we worry about the next day. And, regrettably, it is “bread” we share with our families and the ones we love.
The Psalmist shares a penetrating ray of hope when he assures us that God “gives to his beloved sleep.” In other words, those who place their complete trust in the Lord may rest assured that He knows their needs and will provide them, and that agonizing and laboring in fear and anxiety will not get any more done than what He chooses to give. The life of faith is a life that rests in Him; it may be diligent and industrious but it will be free from restless anxiety.
Let me ask you to ponder the following verses. These can still be true for us today; we really do not have to be “crazy busy.”
“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” (Psalm 3:5-6)
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)