As we move into the precious months of the Minnesota summer, we are reminded of the gift of time and the importance of stewarding what we do with each day well. This reminds me of the balance between work and rest that the Creation narrative in Genesis lays out; “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Gen 2:2-3 NIV). We see that at the conclusion of Creation, God inaugurates the Sabbath, which in Hebrew literally means to “cease” or rest.”
Simultaneously, we see the value that God places on work. Later in Genesis chapter 2, humanity is appointed with the responsibility to cultivate and tend to the Garden (Gen 2:15). These two commitments, rest and work, are inseparable for the believer, both in our faith disciplines and our daily routines. Work gives us structure, routine and growth, while rest gives us reprieve, introspection and time to slow down. We need both. The reminder to find balance between work and rest is one that ties into Christian excellence, something that we have been reflecting on at Damascus Way lately. It also ties into leadership and Christian discipleship.
It is a busy time for many folks as the dynamics of the pandemic change and our country shifts gears. At Damascus Way however, we are accustomed to such a fast pace, as resident graduation and turnover takes places relatively quickly. Many men that come through our program only stay for a few months before completing their time here, so the importance of managing this short period of time is thus all the more essential. The degree of impact Damascus Way can have on these men is reflective of how intentional and effective we are in stewarding our care and supervision of them.
This is why excellence in all we do, especially as representatives and models of Christ, matters. If the men we serve don’t see a change in our own inner character, how do we expect to incentivize them to pursue transformation? For us as believers to be successful in these pursuits we must strive for excellence at the highest level which in turn requires us to find a healthy synthesis of work ethic and rest. I’ll leave you with the following exhortation Paul gave to the church at Philippi to reflect on; “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8 RSV).