A few months ago I reopened my Clothing Resale Store on eBay after a four year break when I had to stop to take care of my ailing mother full time. Now that I’m back at it, I find myself working very hard, often as many as 16 hours a day. That’s just the life of a reseller. And I love it. I truly do, which is why it’s not a surprise that I would throw myself into it with such exuberance.
As I’ve contemplated how to find a healthy balance of work, life, and ministry, I began to marvel at the unending attention of Our Heavenly Father. He is always at work, even when He’s at rest. Look at Jesus: He got in so much trouble with the Pharisees for healing people on the Sabbath.
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus,[a] to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
I think working to do good, working to heal and comfort and encourage, working to love and to smile even when things are hard, are all things we don’t need to take a break from. Does God ever stop listening? Or stop blessing? Or stop comforting?
We can rest in doing what comes natural to us. God asked us to keep the Sabbath and keep it holy so that we would stop and remember all that God has made and done, just like He did “in the beginning”. And He called it good.
I’m working through a lot of hard stuff lately. For me, it has become season in my life primarily of seclusion and introspection. In a lot of ways, I’ve seen it as a season of Sabbath rest. I know that may sound like an oxymoron. I’m working to think on things.
Now, stay with me here, I’m working to see that all that God has made and done is good. I’ve stopped trying to be good and started recognizing God’s good in me. Like with my eBay store. He gave it back to me so that I could have something in my life again that was mine. That may sound strange, but as a mother and wife most of my life, my world has mostly been about other people. Even my ministry is about others: encouraging, prophesying, hugging, loving the unlovable.
My store has given me a chance to stop and think about me. It’s a time of solitude and work, but also a time of reflection and peace in what God has given me and made for me. It’s an opportunity for me to experience joy during a time when my heart is heavy with sorrow and difficult emotions.
God is working. That’s something my therapist keeps reminding me of. God is working. He’s healing me, even on the Sabbath. Even when He’s resting and smiling at me and what He has made in me. He is working on me. He is loving me and teaching me.
Work can be love. It can be healing. It can be rest. And maybe that stuff isn’t “work” after all. Maybe that was Jesus’ point. Love shouldn’t stop on the Sabbath because it might take work. Like His own nature, Love is Eternal and Infinite. It never stops. It never takes a break. And it is always good.