Written by Caleb Leng
"I have so much work! You don’t understand! I have no time for ... I’m busy! Can’t you see? Sorry I can’t make it for ... there’s this ... that came up and I need to finish this ... Rest? What is rest??"
Perhaps you’re like me, one who survives or even thrives on minimal rest (4 hours to be exact), still experiences loads of energy, and derives shiok-ness (Singlish for “pleasure”) from striking through another box in the endless to-do list. The fast-paced, thriving metropolis in which I grew up is jampacked with people like me - the Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffet wannabes, all in a constant rat race to achieve more, earn more, accomplish more, and live life to the 'fullest'.
When those like us encounter the God of the Sabbath (rest), we also encounter a serious dilemma, because deriving our self-worth from achievements doesn’t fit into how God views us.
In the economy of God, we are not measured by the achievements of this world. Measuring ourselves by what we accomplish doesn’t align to the God who saves by grace, not by human efforts or strife. I’m a recipient of the grace and mercy of a loving Saviour. So why do I continue to fall into the lifestyle of perpetual busyness?
Busyness is a symptom of an inner sickness: The fear of lack and failure.
Which God Do You Serve?
"…His delight is in the LORD's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do." — Psalms 1:2-3
It’s happening even in the community of believers - serving in one or multiple ministries to the point of burn-out or constant subsistence. Before long, we strive for a God who saves by undeserved kindness and grace, trying to 'earn' our way to closeness to Him, when in fact nothing we do can make God love us any less.
Let’s not confuse the Creator of the universe with the god of this world; they are different. The god of this world demands that we work till we die, achieve success at the expense of health, values, or those we love. But God’s ways are higher - we work from restfulness and HE will multiply the work of our hands and give us the good and whole success that the world cannot give.
In the economy of God, busyness does not equate to productivity nor fruitfulness.
Busyness is a vice. "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." (Psalm 127:2)
Busyness ≠ Productivity ≠ Fruitfulness
Our God isn’t fascinated or pleased by busyness; He’s moved by love. Let’s not forget the God who loves us and pursues us relentlessly. At the end of the day, we depend wholly on Him for everything.
God’s way of good success is not a ceaseless toil, motivated by the fear of missing out, failure, or lack; at the expense of family time, health, and the quality of relationships, but one of restful increase and unceasing fruitfulness.
"The Lord is my shepherd and I lack nothing." — Psalm 23:1
"When we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto you." — Matthew 6:33
Our loving Savior isn’t impressed by busyness; He’s moved by love. When we remember that He loves us and, at the end of the day, we utterly depend on Him for the work of our hands, we can rest well. Really well.
Start aligning yourself to how God sees you. He wants you to experience the abundant life and good success, through restful increase, so that you can be a blessing to the nations.
Which throne are you serving? The throne of strife or the throne of grace?
During the slavery of Israel, Pharaoh demanded endless labour from the people of God so that his throne was safe; the root is a fear of failure, lack, and missing out. Jesus doesn’t require your work for Him to remain on the throne. He leaves His to serve us and give us abundant life. One word from Him can restore the lost time and relationships you never could and turn situations around for your good.
Trusting God in the area of work means taking time off from work, enthroning Him with your rest, and breathing in the unmerited kindness and grace of God.
"Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." — Matthew 11:28
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11
The Secret to Good Success, Restful Increase, and Unceasing Fruitfulness
Do you know the unfailing promises of God? He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His promises are better than a nice retirement home in Switzerland or a large bank account with no health and family to enjoy it with, and zero quality of life. God’s ways are higher than ours, it’s not 'never enough' but 'It is finished!'
Let’s come back to be planted by the streams of living water, and prioritise our rest time in Jesus. In His presence, you’ll receive everything you need for good success: wisdom, clarity, and strength to prosper and reign in all areas.
Whether you’re a get-it-done kind of person or you’re constantly feeling like you’ve not done enough, the good news is that you get to choose the kind of life you get to live, starting today.