“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
This admonition from Galatians is an encouragement to persevere and remain faithful in doing good. Yet, as Taylor Barkley recently reminded us, not growing weary of doing good—especially in our vocation—can grow difficult when we fail to feel God’s blessing on or presence in our daily work. Barkley writes, “Many tasks feel wholly separate from Christ’s great commission in our lives. Our jobs often feel mundane or lacking in holy purpose.”
But, when our work grows difficult and God feels distant in it, consistently engaging in the spiritual disciplines of prayer and rest can help cultivate a confidence in God’s presence even when He feels detached from the work before us.
In Philippians 4:6, Paul reminds believers:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
This verse is a powerful reminder to followers of Christ that God invites us to cast our needs before him, rather than carrying these burdens on our own through misplaced confidence in our abilities and efforts. Coming to God faithfully in prayer is a daily reminder of our dependence upon him for all things and of his presence with us. Prayer destroys our tendency toward pride and self-reliance, teaching us that without God guiding, blessing, and being present in our good work, our labor is in vain. God delights to show himself powerful on behalf of his people, and when our work is done wholeheartedly for the well-being of our neighbors and the glory of God, it is truly fruitful.
[pq]Prayer and rest can serve as powerful daily reminders of our dependence on God for all things.[/pq]
A lifetime of vocational faithfulness is also grounded in the discipline of rest. In our fast-paced, instant-communication-driven society, the concept of true rest seems not only foreign but even unwise. I often find myself falling prey to this, prioritizing my time under the assumption that investing as much time and energy as possible into my work is an inherently good and productive thing. However, spending more hours working does not necessarily mean we are truly being more fruitful in our labor. In creation, God himself established the rhythm of work and rest, of hours of diligent labor and times of peaceful Sabbath. When we experience the blessing of rest, we are also reminded that even when we are resting, God is still working tirelessly on behalf of his people.
In a recent “Christianity Today” article, David Zahl writes:
What was once prohibition might now be heard as permission: to stop, take a breath, and remember that we are more than what we produce, more than our job title or bank balance. Sabbath, in this light, does indeed represent resistance to the dominating paradigm of more more more, an invitation to, well, the experience of grace.
The consistent and sincere practice of these spiritual disciplines of prayer and rest can serve as powerful daily reminders of our dependence on God for all things, including the success and fruitfulness of our work.