Genesis 2, Verse 2 - And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Exodus 20, Verses 9-11 - Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Proverbs 31, Verses 10-31, The Virtuous Woman - Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.
2 Thessalonians 3, Verses 10-12 - For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
Matthew 11, Verses 28-30 - “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Luke 15, Verses 11-32, The Parable of the Lost Son - 11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. 25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”
Since Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, men and women have understood good and evil, and also mankind has had to toil and labor to make a living. We are not like the birds or the deer or the monkeys who frolic and eat from the ground and the trees in their nakedness. We must make for ourselves our own way. God Himself labored in his creation for six days before he rested, establishing the Sabbath of the Old Testament and working days for mankind. We no longer frolic, but labor for survival, needing to eat, have shelter and clothe ourselves. As pointed out in the "The Parable of the Lost Son" sometimes we use the fruit of our own labor (or someone else's labor) and spoil it on sinful desires. This is an American temptation as we live in the world of advertising at every turn, instant access to on-line shopping, easy credit and loan opportunities, and easy income from government subsidies. I myself plead guilty. Sometimes I am amazed at how much I have spent on-line; I have a definite tendency to give-in to temptation and desire.
(1) Working willingly, (2) working hard, (3) being dedicated to work in time and passion - these 3 things are all praised in the Bible and recognized by God, for both females and males. I have done these 3 things off and on in my life because of my schizo-affective interludes, and I am rededicating to longer hours and harder work now again. If you are in an off period I ask you to consider the same. We can labor at many things including raising children, volunteering or spreading the gospel - keep that in mind. Do not be idle, but work.
Matthew 11, again says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We are often tired in life, often from our labors. It could be a combination of a paid job with raising a family, or tending to a sick one and helping others in need. There is so much work for Christians in this world and we can get overwhelmed - our yoke can become heavy. Jesus, who speaks here in Matthew, wants us to know that He is the answer. Laying our anxieties and woes on God, offering up concerns in prayer, reading and studying His Word to determine His will for our life, taking action to strengthen our spiritual muscles - all of these will lessen our yoke and make our burdens lighter no matter how daunting they seem. Knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel because Jesus died for our sins will help us surmount this life with a real hope. As we work, toil and labor, we should walk in the light and keep our hearts hopeful.
Dear God, I am brushing up my resume and applying for work with a regular full-time position, which I have not held since 2014. My mental health flared up to the point I could not keep a job and I threw together a small part-time business which has flourished monetarily but now runs on its own. I often refer back to Proverbs 31, "The Virtuous Woman" and reflect that I fall short, especially in my laboring. During winter my husband wakes when it is still night outside while I soundly sleep; we woke together for 11 years and I praise him for his continued hard work. We were never blessed with kids and that eases my situation a million times over. I have too much time to be idle, and more rest than I need. I am becoming lazy. Yes, I have passions, accomplishments, I cook and clean well, and volunteer, but there is a void in my labors for I do not labor enough and my mind wanders. I ask for your blessing in my job search as I am not settled on a simple return to what I worked at previously. I am willing to work, want to work hard, and dedicated to working long hours and with passion. I ask for your blessing that my mental health remain stable, as I am anxious about it and the demands of a full-time career. I pray that I can be more self-less than selfish. You are my forever hope, You and Your Son. In Jesus name, Amen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.