Rest or Die

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Numbers 15:30-36

Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off. (v. 31)

Before I became a pastor, I was a delivery truck driver. One of my colleagues was infamous for having once driven his truck into the side of a moving train. The incident occurred because he fell asleep at the wheel. He fell asleep because for months he had gone with almost no sleep. Having purchased a new home to accommodate his growing family, he supplemented his income by taking on a second full-time job stocking grocery shelves at night. It turns out that rest is a matter of life and death.

In Numbers 15, God sentences a man to death for refusing to rest. How unreasonable! God, however, knows some things we don’t. God knows the human tendency to turn work into an idol. God knows that unchecked, our drive for productivity becomes a false god that quickly owns us, body and soul. And God knows the ultimate consequence of pouring out our life in pursuit of a false god: death not only of body, but of soul.

God in his mercy commands his people to set aside their work as an act of worship. When we take a break from our work, we make a statement: “I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to this pursuit, but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.” —Ben Van Arragon

Prayer: Most Holy God, break my dependence on the false god of work. And restore me to right relationship with you.