Do you remember the old advertising slogan – ‘a Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’?
I am writing this while on holiday and plan to just rest and play. For the rest of the year, like most retired people, a large part of my time is spent doing unpaid ‘work’.
A few decades ago there were predictions that, due to advances in technology, everyone would soon only work a 20-hour week.
In fact, it seems that those fortunate enough to have jobs frequently find themselves either working or on call most of the time, while the rest of society has no paid employment.
The Bible urges us to work, so that we will not be dependent on anybody and have something to share with those in need.
Some people will be saying, “If only...!”
For those not in paid work – work can be any form of mental or physical activity done with a purpose – voluntary work, including things we don’t think of as work such as visiting a sick neighbour, can count just as much as paid work.
And it is very good for us as well as for those we help!
But, even God, after creating for six days took the seventh day off, acting as a role model, because he knew we needed rest.
Rest, while generally considered the cessation of work, can also mean peace of mind, a clear conscience or freedom from fear or upset and these can be even more important than physical rest.
Jesus gave an invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The burdens he was talking about are not just physical ones, but mental and spiritual burdens, too.
Play is perhaps the opposite of work – a mental or physical activity done purely for enjoyment with no other purpose.
And what does the Bible have to say about play?
Well, we know that Jesus and his disciples enjoyed a good party or a meal at someone’s house.
Play was and is part of a balanced lifestyle
I’m sure that the trick is to get the balance right between work, rest and play – easier said than done, I know, but let’s try with God’s help.*