Exodus 34:21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in plowing and harvesting seasons, you must rest.”
Rest is important. So important, in fact, that God made it a commandment. Hard work is essential, but rest is too. Very often we think of rest as work that’s not our day job. We mow the lawn, do the shopping or laundry, clean the house, fix the fence or the wall, build that treehouse or whatever needs to be done that you don’t get paid to do at your nine to five. For many people, rest isn’t an option.
I read an article today about our “booming economy.” I hear a lot about it on the news but, I don’t see it in real time. I see a lot of struggle and reconciling what is real with what is broadcast is often a problem. The reports on jobs say more people are working, but people I know tell me they have gotten jobs, but their pay is less than before. I hear that construction is booming but, lots of people I know can’t afford to buy houses and rent is high. You’re supposed to spend a week’s worth of salary on housing and the rest for expenses and savings. I don’t know a lot of people with savings, and I’ve never been able to spend only a week’s salary on housing – more like two or three.
The report was from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and it showed state by state how much you needed to earn to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. In my state, a person needs to make over $30 an hour to afford rent. If that person is a minimum wage earner, he or she needs to work 115 hours a week to afford an apartment that size. That’s only five hours shy of THREE 40 hour work weeks. In Hawaii, a person making minimum wage needs to work 143 hours a week to afford an apartment. That’s the equivalent of THREE full-time jobs plus one part-time job that allows more than 23 hours of work. You might be tempted to think that this problem only hits uppity wealthy areas like the coasts, you’d be wrong. Even in Arkansas, the least expensive place to rent in the US, a worker needs to work 65 hours a week to cover rent; that’s a full-time and a part-time job that hits at least 25 hours. In other words, a worker in Arkansas needs to make almost $14/hr to rent a two-bedroom apartment. Where, in all of that, is there time to rest?
Fox, Business Insider, CNBC, CNN and many others have all run articles or news reports on the dangers of not taking vacations or refusing to take their days off. It’s terrible for your health, your relationships, your lifespan, your waistline. Not taking rest can kill you! Hmmmmm, it’s stands to reason then, that a God who loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us, would want us to rest for our good. God knows that we need to recharge, He made us! He also told us to care for our neighbors as ourselves. If we are blessed enough to take time off for a vacation, we should take the time to rest and not use it to cross off items on our “To Do” list. Additionally, we should be fighting for a reasonable minimum wage so that our neighbors can also do as God commanded and get some rest. It is our duty, and God does not look kindly on those who attack people who need rest. Look at what He says in
Deuteronomy 25:18 & 19 “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along your way from Egypt, how they met you on your journey when you were tired and weary, and they attacked all your stragglers; they had no fear of God.”
Wow! They had no fear of God. That is a dangerous position in which to find one’s self. I am my brother’s keeper and so must help him fight for his ability to obey God’s command and find rest for his weary soul.