“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”
Psalms 127:1-2 NASB
The key to life is to focus on the dream that God has given you. As the first verse above says, God is the One who gives the dream. He’s the one who builds the house and guards its preparations. He’s also the One who desires for us to find peace through rest.
God’s desire within us is what keeps us going. It keeps us moving forward, working, expending, spending, building, creating, and recreating. Without it, we’d seldom do anything significant.
Desire For Production
There’s no doubt that God wants us to be productive. He created us to partner with Him in His creative effort in the world. He has called us to be men and women of work, hard work and a willingness to put our “backs into it.” Why? All that we do on earth does echo in eternity, as the line from Gladiator exclaims because everything we do is an act of worship to God Himself.
We need to be productive for Him. Yet our world has turned this God-given desire on its head. No longer is working hard enough. Our culture expects us to all but turn our lives over to the job that we have.
Work goes from being a means to an end to being an end in itself. This situation is unfortunate and is not at all what God had planned for mankind.
Desire For Protection
Security and safety are also great desires of the human soul. We long to be secure in our marriages, experience safety for our children in communities, find financial security in well-paying jobs, and build retirement accounts that make our lives more comfortable when we retire, since we won’t be able to produce as we once did.
Once again, though, our culture has turned this God-given desire into another race for more, better, best, and most. Having enough with which to be comfortable doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. People are not content in retirement if they’re not doing more in retirement than they did in their work years.
Desire For Peace
Peace, though, is probably our greatest dream, our greatest achievement in life. Yet it seems we never obtain it. Everything our culture tells us we need to enjoy peace fails us. These things never seem to provide the peace we so desperately seek. Our children are even more peace-hungry than we have been, finding satisfaction only in as many pleasures as they can possibly imbibe.
Our culture has forgotten that genuine peace only comes through rest. Yet rest, solitude, and silence are looked down upon in our world today.
So much so that someone who takes time to be alone, more often than not, cannot be alone because her or his desire for protection and production has become so powerful that it will not allow them to simply rest quietly. Their mind moves a million miles an hour. Quieting the kids seems impossible, so we just return to work to produce and be protected by ourselves.
Desire For God’s Dream
God’s great dream for you and me is very simple: “Trust me to produce, trust me to protect you, and trust me for peace! Unless I build it, all of your labors are vain!”
What’s God saying?
I think God’s saying this, “I long to partner with you!”
Partnering With God
This partnership with God requires one thing. It requires that we follow His entire path and see His whole vision for our lives. His vision does include production. His vision for you does include His powerful protection. And His vision for each of us includes rest.
If you’re not resting, you’re not trusting God. If you can’t rest, you can’t trust God. If you try to be alone in silence and solitude and your mind drives you crazy, then you’re god is no longer God, it’s your ability to produce, your own self-protection. Not His.
Yet when you partner with Him, life falls together. Not all at once. Not easily either. But it does fall together.
Will you repent of your lack of trust in God? Will you consider how much your own hard work and personal ability has become that which you trust in more than anything? Will you confess that you simply don’t take time to rest?
I encourage you to think deeply about these questions. Ask God, “Do I really trust you or am I so frantically working that I can’t rest in you?”
The demands and expectations of employers today are much higher than they have been in the history of our culture. Will you ask yourself, “How has my boss’s expectations, and my need to meet them, caused me to be so busy that I’ve begun to trust more in my own hard work than You, God?”
Use the two verses above to consider your own work-life. Maybe your life will take on a whole new meaning, and help you see God as He really is.
And seeing Him as He really is changes everything.