The Psalmist noted that “it’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.” Does that sound like someone you know? I remember a time when I was that person. I was all work work work. What happens then? You don’t enjoy life. You don’t have time to get done what God truly wants you to do in life. You busy yourself up so much with useless work. You end up not giving each area of your life the attention it requires because you keep piling on the work.
Even if what you do is important, it can be a problem if you are working your fingers to the bone. I was working in nursing. I was taking care of people. Hard work is important. Hard workers should be something we all strive to be; however, there is a difference between hard workers and over-workers. There is a difference between giving everything a hundred percent and shortchanging some areas of your life because you are pushing yourself too hard in another area.
God enjoys giving us rest. He loves us. He does not want us to be burdened to the bone. If you are in ministry and you are working too much, you are pushing too hard in an area where the Holy Spirit does the greatest work. At your job if you are overburdened, you need to consider where the problem lies. Are you not delegating tasks? Are you taking on too much? Do you understand your job requirements? Are you working too much for the overtime pay? Remember, whatever it may be, God wants you to work hard at everything you do, but He always wants you to rest.
“If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?”
-Psalm 127:1-2 [MSG]
The Psalmist described arriving at a safe house. He said God was a safe house, a sanctuary. He further said that when you arrive, you relax. You relax like you are at home. You feel safe. You feel peace. You are never sorry, NEVER SORRY that you knocked at His door, that you approached Him. You realize that “without (God), nothing makes sense” (Psalm 18:24 MSG). But with God you have all you need.
To be able to relax is a good feeling. Too often people are tense because of stressful situations or environments. People are worried about bills, dealing with family issues, trying to age slowly. People are always on guard, worried, looking over their shoulder. If you turn on the television or walk through any shopping center or mall, you will find many methods advertised for peace and relaxation. Drink this tea. Use this machine. Try this lotion. Get this organizer. Buy this home security system. But we can do all these things and more and yet still not relax.
The Psalmist understood that when you approach God, who already has His arms stretched towards you, it is then that you encounter the peace—the Prince of Peace. And when you encounter God and you accept Him into your life, you can kick off your shoes (no pun intended) and relax. I’m not saying life won’t be filled with trials and struggles, but that you’ll feel a peace you never felt before in life. As the Psalmist said, “You’re never sorry you knocked.”
“God’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.”
-Psalm 9:9-10 [MSG]