We live in an age of endless amounts of information, connectivity, and resources at our fingertips. Thanks to the advancement of the internet and smartphone apps we are able to be anywhere at any time, communicating with anyone, with access to a mass amount of information.
This may mean attending a board meeting in your living room through video chat, or emailing global stakeholders while on vacation with family. It might even mean reviewing and refining staff newsletters and spreadsheets while laying in bed before going to sleep. The lines of work and personal life are becoming more blurred because of the accessibility we have through technology and the lack of boundaries we have placed for ourselves.
In a way, most of us are always in work mode, and are often never leaving our work at work. We find ourselves available and accessible to our business partners, co-workers, and supervisors at all times of the day—which can be both a blessing and a curse.
According to a recent report from the Radicati Group, “The total worldwide email traffic, including both Business and Consumer emails, is estimated to be over 293 billion emails/day by year-end 2019, growing to over 347 billion emails/day by the end of 2023.”
In this age of connectivity, our workload expectations are high and can lead to stress not only at our work but also in our personal lives. This 24/7 access can lead to productivity, but can also lead to burnout.
According to a study by The American Institute of Stress, “40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful and 26% said they were often burned out by their work.” The research also stated the top reasons for this stress were their heavy workload, as well as juggling work and personal life. This is no doubt mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting, and can be a danger to our lives.
This is not how God created and equipped us for meaningful work. In Genesis 1, the Lord created the world, and created mankind in His Image. And then God rested! The Most High and unstoppable God of the universe doesn’t need to rest, but He did it anyway. Why? He stopped and rested for a whole day after He created the entire universe because He wanted to be an example for us! He knows we were designed for both work and rest.
We need meaningful work but we also need meaningful rest. Our work glorifies the Lord by displaying the gifts and talents He gave us to serve and love others in our community. Our rest glorifies the Lord by taking time to reflect on the work we accomplished and appreciate our God who made us. A supreme God who, unlike us, is completely self-sufficient and omnipotent. We are merely human. We are unable to work all day every day, with no rest, without becoming overwhelmed, dull, and stressed out because we are not God.
Genesis 2:2 says, "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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."
Our Heavenly Father knows and loves us, which is why He commands us to honor the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created to be a blessing and a sacred time of rest and reflection after six days of life-giving labor. Sabbath doesn’t always have to be on Sunday, it could be any day of the week, as long as it is time set apart for the Lord and resting from our work.
This is so important and everyone should take a full day to prepare their hearts and minds for more meaningful work. Rest can take many forms; maybe it means spending time with friends and family, or maybe having alone time at home, or maybe it means going for a peaceful hike—whatever helps in reflecting and laying aside our to-do lists and focusing on God’s presence is considered resting.
Preparing individuals for meaningful work is something we are passionate about at Jobs for Life. We hope to see all people thrive in their work and relationships, but this also means taking a step back and honoring both work and rest in a way that glorifies the Lord.
It might be time to turn off the phone when you get home today and rest at Christ’s feet in prayer and gratitude.