Not even my kindest friend could ever describe me as mathematically-inclined (I’m a wordsmith, not a number-cruncher!) But one thing I have looked at recently is the Biblical ratio of work to rest: “Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.” (Exodus 20:8)
God Himself is a model for us in this whole idea of work and rest: “…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 the work of creating He had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3) He spent six days creating the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested.
The renovation of St Mark’s is a long-term project. It will require a lot of work from a lot of people and, like any long-term project, will need that work to be ongoing for a long time. The building work chronicled here is actually only a tiny fraction (another mathematical term!) of the actual work God wants to do, since the building is only a tool, not, in actual fact, the work itself. It’s simply a means to an end, a facility to enable us to reach out to our local community in the way God wants.
One thing we must learn, therefore, is how to rest as well as how to work. We need to learn how to enter God’s rest and not simply rely on our own strength, talents and giftings. We need to be aware of times and seasons and learn how to work whole-heartedly but also how to rest devotedly, dedicating all we are and all we do to God.
Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who hope or wait on the Lord will renew their strength. The work:rest ratio reminds us that this is a cycle. We work and need to rest; we rest and need to work. The two things have to be held together in balance to make a whole. Let’s learn to do both and to dedicate our whole lives as a living sacrifice to God.