Can you remember a time when you reached the end of a long, hard day and you just felt like slipping into sweatpants and sitting in front of the TV for an hour? Maybe you spent the day at work, or running kids to practice or lessons, raking leaves, making meals, going, going, going until you were spent of all energy reserves. Do you remember how great it felt to relax? How amazing it felt to just allow the deep cushions of your couch to envelop you and the ease of a good show or book lull you into a state of comforted bliss?
Or perhaps you can you remember other times when you worked really hard on completing a task and the feeling you had after it was done? Maybe it was a science project at school, or a presentation at work? Perhaps it was an item around the house or the yard that you finally got to check off your list. Do you remember the rewarding satisfaction and sense of achievement that you felt? The accomplished sigh as you admired your hard work and dedication to seeing this through?
Hopefully, we can all relate to both of these instances as we have probably experienced them a time or two throughout the years of our lives. We all have felt the euphoria of relaxing and taking it easy and we have all felt the gratification of a job well done and a hard day’s work. But this is where being a human being can become downright humorous and ridiculous. Like many things in our lives, we can be tempted to idolize anything. You may have heard it said that we are “idol-making factories.” No matter what it might be, we can be tempted to turn it into something that reframes our priorities and devotion in some unhealthy ways. Even if it is good in nature, we can find a way to twist it the wrong way and throw it out of balance. We are funny people, aren’t we?
This idolizing of work and free time is nothing new. We may struggle with it in different ways living in today’s world, but this is much of the same struggle that the Apostle Paul was pointing out to the Church in Thessalonica. In the third chapter of his second letter to them, Paul takes some time to implore those who have a misplaced view on what it means to take it easy. The reality was that this group was taking things too easy and not viewing work in the proper perspective. The easy thought that some might have had would be to simply work harder or work more but that leads us to the other extreme of viewing work in ways that it was not meant to be.
Whether you have tendencies of a workaholic or an idler, God’s Word still speaks to set us free. It spoke to the Christians living in Thessalonica and it speaks to us as believers at Oak Hill Church. God’s Word defines and redefines work and rest in the best way. He alone can help us in our temptation to lean toward one extreme or the other or have disdain for those on the opposite end of you or me. God uses work to bless us and rest to rejuvenate us and His example gives us confidence to truly live our lives under His guiding Hand. As Paul writes in our text for this week: And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good…May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. What a good reminder for all of us, whether it is in our sweatpants or work gloves.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette