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Monday, July 8, 2013

Jesus’ Yoke, Work, Rest, and Balance

“Jesus is not talking about the rest of a vacation or a quiet afternoon by the fire, but rest in the centre of life, activity, work.
— SHERIDAN VOYSEY (Author of Resurrection Year)
Work and rest must operate together,
Existing in tandem if either is to serve,
Balance is found when we’re light as a feather,
Even though we’ve worked with passionate verve.
***
I often wonder whether the world has gotten a whole lot busier or whether that’s just our excuse. Of course, we have a myriad of tools that are supposed to make life easier, but the pace of life seems to be so frenetic it’s almost like we need these tools just to keep up.
We can wonder if the above biblically-stated advice is never more relevant.
I wrote an article on Making Time Work Through Margins, and I guess this idea is much akin to that one – we somehow need to wrestle the balance between becoming a manic workaholic and being a hermit. We need to believe that God’s will for our lives is that we would be efficient and effective workers who are skilfully able to manage the balance between work, rest and play.
Surely this is where the heart of wisdom is involved – discerning the way, then doing it.
An Image of Jesus’ True Yoke
Amidst the burdens of life, some of which involve the struggles of work, or of balancing our time, or of wrestling with grief or a mental illness, amongst many examples, there is this concept of rest.
The yoke of Jesus as portrayed in Matthew 11:28-30 perceivably involves two concepts coupled together, as if a yoke of oxen – burden and rest. (I use the word ‘burden’ as the generic term encapsulating every idea that is the opposite of rest.)
It wouldn’t be much good if we had a Saviour who had solutions that didn’t work in real life. We cannot continue to go around and around and around the issues of work-life balance only to become confused and exasperated, again and again. That makes no sense.
It is better, by far, to understand rest in the context of work, and even allowing ourselves rest before work, so we are well prepared for the work we do.
It is no good to venture into escapism, just as it is no good to put off our rest indefinitely. Neither escaping nor burnout achieve God’s will.
In our everyday we ought to find rest; we are blessed to plan it in.
***
Jesus’ yoke for the burdened is a workable rest right in the midst of the burden. Rest has to occur in the middle of a busy day or it doesn’t work at all.
With awareness and the conviction of courage in action we can plan in and accomplish our rest so our work is the best and most enjoyable it can be. Rest supports work and work enables rest. Work and rest must coexist – both of them, simultaneously, God blesses.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.



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