One of the frustrations of being human is the fact that we are limited. We cannot do everything we want to do, and we cannot keep going endlessly. Eventually, the human body has to stop and rest and sleep. This is often frustrating because there is so much we still wish to get done. We assume that going to sleep or resting means nothing is getting done. However, as Christians, this should not be our mindset. Of all people, we should recognize that work is always getting done – even if we are not the ones doing it. As Christians, we need to recognize and understand that even though we are limited, God is never limited. That means He is always working – even when we cannot.
In Psalm 121:3-4, the psalmist writes, “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” God does not ever need to “regain” His strength or be “refreshed” or “renewed”. He is always as awake, alert, and able, and active as He has ever been. Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Again, notice: one of the distinguishing marks of God is that He does not faint or grow weary. This is a glorious truth that we need to remember.
But why is it such a big deal? Don’t we know that God is different than us? Hopefully we do, but oftentimes it seems we forget the practical implication of this reality. The fact that God never sleeps and never grows weary means that everything does not depend on us. It means the work does not stop simply because we do. We see this in Mark 4:26-29 as Jesus says, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” What is the point of this illustration? Surely Jesus is not extolling the greatness of the earth which produces “by itself”, is He? Of course not – the point is that someone is working even when the farmer is asleep! God brings certain things to pass in His world apart from our effort and labor. This does not mean our work is meaningless – the farmer works hard to do what he needs to do, but it does mean our work is not ultimate or preeminent. We are able to work because God is at work.
Friend, I would encourage you to take some time to consider this truth today. Consider that God never needs to rest or recuperate like you do. Even when you have to “tap out” and step away from a task or a conversation or a situation, God is still present there. In fact, every time you step into a room, you are entering a place where God has already been and is already working. Every time you enter into a conversation, you are “butting in” to something God has already been doing. This reality should set us free. The world does not depend, or rest, on us. Our effort is not the defining factor in this life. We work because God is at work. And God, in His grace, allows us to be a part of His work – and uses our work to bring about His purposes. As husbands and wives, parents, employees, citizens, and church members, we can work hard because we know that the almighty God will use our efforts. Then, we can “rest easy” because we know that a pause in our labor does not mean a pause in God’s labor. Work and growth do not stop when we do, and we need to remember that – lest we think too much of ourselves and too little of God.