Put Laziness to Rest

God often has a backwards way of dealing with brokenness in our world. Conquering, but not by the sword (Matthew 26:52). Defeating death with death (Hebrews 2:14). Preaching parables to bad listeners (Matthew 13:13). Fighting laziness with rest. Because of the complexity of laziness, we need to pay close attention to the ways God addresses our complacency. To shout at men, "Get to work!" ironically reinforces a dysfunctional cycle of both work and rest. It fails to say what really needs to be said. It isn't all that hard to see why God punishes his people by making them "forget festival and Sabbath" (Lamentations 2:6). Let me speak for ancient Israel and male millennials: Bad resters make bad workers. Lazy men need a new theology of rest.

1. Rest from stubborn foolishness.

"'Ah, stubborn children,' declares the Lord, 'who carry out a plan, but not mine'" (Isaiah 30:1). Even the lazy make plans. The grace God gives his children is in knowing the difference between the plan of the fool (Proverbs 3:29) and the plan of the wise. Those who plan well have joy (Proverbs 12:20).

With the Sabbath, God tells us to stop winging it and hoping for the best. Hope through planning. Faith and intentionality are not at odds for us. Stop all of the busy work, and carry out the Sabbath task of getting your own heart and life in order. Yes, planning itself takes time and energy. Halt as many activities as possible. But don't stop and collapse into mindless inactivity. That's a cycle of laziness — fake, shallow rest — not rest. Cease your vain labors so that you can truly work, and work well. Stop, so that you can reorient your rhythm from foolishness to wisdom, so that you can see and cease ineffective cycles of work and rest.

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