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Laziness vs. Rest

FaithFi: Faith & Finance | Jun 14, 2024


Show Notes

Dr. Richard Swenson, author of The Overload Syndrome and Margin, writes that… “We must have some room to breathe. We need freedom to think and permission to heal. Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity.”

Too many people are physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially overloaded these days. So, we’ll look at rest from a biblical perspective today.

The Concept of Margin

In his writings, Dr. Richard Swenson introduces the concept of "margin"—essentially, it's the space to take a break before you break down. Many of us feel there’s just not enough time, money, or energy left at the end of the day to recuperate, leading us to start the next day at full throttle again. This lifestyle, lacking margin, can have severe physical and financial consequences.

Consider sleep, for instance. The Sleep Foundation reports that nearly half of people in the U.S. struggle with sleep, and about one-third of adults sleep less than seven hours each night. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to expensive health issues like diabetes, anxiety, obesity, and heart disease. Additionally, research from Sleep Advisor indicates that over 2 percent of the U.S. GDP is lost due to workers' lack of proper sleep.

Working late nights and weekends might seem necessary if you feel like life is moving too fast. However, burning the candle at both ends is ultimately unproductive. Exhaustion leaves no energy for the most important things—your relationships with others and the Lord.

Work and Rest: Finding the Right Balance

While God calls us to work for our families, His Kingdom, and the community, He also emphasizes the need for rest. Rest is God’s idea as much as work is. God rested on the seventh day of Creation—not out of tiredness, but because His work was complete. He blessed that rest and called it holy. The Sabbath, enshrined as one of the Ten Commandments, shows how much God values rest. We need time to be with the Lord, reconnect with loved ones, relax, enjoy God’s creation, exercise, breathe deeply, and sleep!

Technology enables us to work from anywhere at any time, but that doesn't mean we should. Creating margin in our work means getting enough rest to do our jobs “as unto the Lord” with purpose and energy. Staying late at the office or skipping vacations might make you look diligent, but the stress and broken relationships that follow are too high a price for professional progress.

However, it’s important to distinguish between proper rest and laziness. Laziness is choosing not to do what you’re supposed to or doing the bare minimum. This goes against God’s purpose for us, which involves good works. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul advises the church to “…warn those who are idle and disruptive,” implying that inactivity can lead to trouble. The saying “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is a testament to this idea.

The Dangers of Idleness

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul highlights other dangers of idleness, such as gossiping and leading others into sin. Idleness, unproductiveness, and laziness open the door to harmful habits. Contrarily, Proverbs 31 praises the “woman of noble character” for her hard work in caring for her family, running her business, training her workers, and providing for the poor. Verse 27 confirms that she “does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Laziness can also mean spending too much time on unimportant activities like endless scrolling through Instagram or mindlessly shopping online. At its core, laziness is a failure to take care of responsibilities. Paul provides a stern example in 1 Timothy 5:8, stating, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

If laziness tempts you, turn to Jesus in prayer. 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Whether your issue is working too hard or hardly working, it’s time to restore the margin in your work and finances. Do your work “as unto the Lord,” as Colossians 3:23 advises. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, find comfort in Jesus’ words from Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

On Today’s Program, Rob Answers Listener Questions:

  • Where should I go to find a Certified Kingdom Advisor to get a referral for a godly estate planning attorney?
  • I paid a capital gains tax a few years ago when I sold some stock. Even though my income from my job was below the limit to be taxed at 0% for long-term capital gains, they taxed me on the full capital gains amount as if that was my adjusted gross income. I want to check with my tax preparer since I thought I should have gotten taxed at 0% based on my income that year.
  • Please give me a simplified explanation of a money market account. My new husband and I are considering putting some retirement money into one.
  • Given all the economic uncertainties, does it make sense for someone in their 70s who is still working, with money in a 401k and savings account, to consider spending that money now on something of value like real estate? I'm concerned about the dollar's devaluation and wanted your perspective on proactively spending the money versus letting it sit in investments and seeing what happens.

Resources Mentioned:

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