Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
For the past two months we have been running up and down to offices, coordinating logistics and meeting with marketers of different organizations who can sponsor one of the biggest events in our city called the Ufulu Festival. Ufulu is organised by our church to celebrate Malawi’s independence, culture and creativity. We have found ourselves pouring all we’ve got into this event. It has also been a trying month physically because we have both been sick on different occasions; and we have found ourselves unable to do things that we wanted to do or had planned to do. It is also during these times that we found ourselves neglecting our designated Sabbath day because “we have a meeting with some boss.” Having been forced to rest because of sickness we have had to think and ask ourselves of whether we really trust that all we do we do is for the glory of God or to save and prove ourselves?
One truth that we have been learning this month is that:
“ God does not call us to busyness or laziness but he invites us to a partnership with him in our work.”
This is profound for us because we realise that work without God often is self-centred which then leads to a disappointments if it doesn’t turn out to be the way we wanted it to be. Personal achievements are beautiful, but if we want to achieve things in our lives because we want to create our “little kingdoms” and have people applaud when they see us at the top then all we have are small dreams. We don’t mean that people shouldn’t work hard or shouldn’t think of themselves when they’re doing something to develop themselves but we are hoping you would be reminded that probably it is God’s will for us to shift the focus on “developing self” for self but developing self for others and considering how you can partner with God in your work.
In our time of reflection we have learned the following things:
- Partnering with God in our work means considering how our work help others flourish
Partnering with God in our work means we consider how our work helps others be better. This is a shift from how we want to make ourselves better. The culture around us wants us to be self-centred but God calls us to be others centred.
- Partnering with God in our work means considering how our work reflects the character of God
Partnering with God means we consider how our work esteems the values of the Kingdom of God. Instead of corruption we can choose integrity and a godly work ethic. We can respect those around us because we have chosen to learn from Jesus who was gentle and humble. If we are employers, we can value kindness and gentleness over efficiency and results. Jesus was the perfect demonstration of godly work ethic.
- Partnering with God in our work means doing only our part
Partnering with God means we choose to do our potion and not everything. This is when the discipline of rest comes in. A life of busyness wants to do everything and a life of laziness does not want to do anything all; both are a problem. These are a problem because they don’t come out of a place of pride rather than humbleness. Busyness says “ I will define my self worth” and laziness says, “I will let others define my self worth.” They are both self-centred and do not have a heart of God because our self worth does not come from others or ourselves but from Jesus.
Three questions we want to encourage you to ask yourself in your work today are:
- How can I make others flourish in my work?
- How can I promote godly ethic in my work?
- Am I doing my part faithfully?
Tim Keller in his book ‘Every Good Endeavour’ calls this need that we all feel to prove and save ourselves, to gain a sense of worth and identity from our work the ‘work under the work’. He also says that we can only experience deep, true rest when we can can be free from this.
As we have taken time to reflect amidst our busyness, sickness and rest over the last few weeks, we have discovered that these questions help us identify the ‘work beneath the work’. We have found that true rest is found only in partnering with God for His glory.