by Josh Hughes
What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 (your life verse, perhaps?)
Here’s a question to ponder: In the last few weeks, have you replied to the question, “How are you/how’s it going/what’s going on?” with some version of, “I’m busy?”
I know I have.
Recently I’ve been observing the “doctrine of busy-ness” being reflected in my conversations with friends. Some common themes are emerging. “Work is hard, the schedule is demanding, there aren’t enough hours in the day, I’m not getting enough sleep, I don’t feel like I can rest when I’m off work, it’s hard to be present with people because my phone is always around.” It seems our efforts at working and resting well aren’t going well.
One of the prophets of our age, hip-hop recording artist Kanye West, was asked by an interviewer if he ever allows himself, “to be just dull and quiet? Just zone out with a good book?” To this he replied, “I’m too busy writing history to read it.”
I love a well-turned phrase, and this is a beauty. And despite how the rhetoric may land on you, there may be an ounce of relatable truth here for us. I suspect that even if none of us would speak of our work in the same grandiose terms as Kanye, we do understand the pressure he’s describing.
Be it ever so humble, our version of the quote might be: “I’m too busy carrying what feels like a historic load of studying/keeping the house clean/doing laundry/driving the kids all over creation/trying to keep my marriage on the tracks/trying to satisfy my boss/(fill in the blank) to read history.”
Anybody tired out there? Anybody worn slap out from trying to achieve the mythical work/life balance?
Me too. That’s why I’m so excited for our new sermon series, which we are calling Rhythms, to kick off this Sunday, June 12th, at both congregations. We’re going to spend 8 weeks thinking together about what it looks like to walk in healthy patterns of work and rest in our lives. We’re going to try to navigate the tension between the striving we’re called to do in our work, and the rest we were created to enjoy as God’s people. We’ll consider why work is good, why rest is required, and how we play and recreate to the glory of God.
God’s word speaks to these issues, and we want to hear Him. Let’s listen and learn, work and rest, together.