Missing the Mark (of Labor & Rest) – Richard Phillips

Missing the Mark by Richard Phillips | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT - Feb 2015Yesterday before our worship services I had time to read the first two featured articles on the theme of this month’s Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries’ devotional magazine. That theme is “Labor and rest; Finding the Right Balance.”

Dr. Miles Van Pelt wrote the first featured article on “The Purpose of Labor and Rest”, stressing that our work and our rest were ordained by God for worship of Him as well as service to others. Along with this point, he also stressed that we were originally created in God’s image to be able to carry out this purpose, and that this purpose still stands.

Dr.Richard Phillips penned the next article, titled “Missing the Mark” (linked above). In this piece Phillips sets forth the reality of work and rest after the fall of man into sin, a setting in which we now labor under God’s curse (Gen.3). While what he has to say is hard, it is true and matches our own experience as we struggle in our work for six days and in our rest on one day.

I especially appreciated this section of his article (quoted below), and post it here so that we may not forget the emptiness of work and rest as ends in themselves.

I mentioned earlier that the curse of sin keeps us from finding satisfaction in our work. The reason for this is that God never designed people to find their identities or their ultimate delight in the achievements of their own hands. God intended for our work to be a way of communing with and worshiping Him, not an act of self-actualization and self-glory. This is why one of God’s choicest punishments for sin is not only to make work difficult but to make success empty. The same is true of excessive leisure. To engage in one round of pleasure after another is to experience depreciating returns on your rest. Man was made in covenant communion with God so that He would be our delight. Man was to offer his work to the glory and pleasure of God, and in that pleasure Adam was to find his delight. Since God does not tolerate idolatry, those who worship either work or leisure will find their souls ultimately barren.

Yet Phillips does not leave us in despair. He also gives us this “remedy for the curse”:

The key, now, to a balanced life of work and rest, is to center our lives on our communion with God and His calling through His Word. The way to satisfaction and relief from life under the curse of death is to turn to God through faith in Jesus Christ. With God restored to the center of our lives—with our work directed primarily to His glory and to His service among men, and with our rest devoted to enjoying God and giving Him praise—we may experience joyful redemption from the curse of sin on both our work and rest.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on Julesjewels6952 and commented:
    Why work and rest (relaxation)are given us!

    Like


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