Work and Rest – Gospel in Life

Work and Rest

Tim Keller |  March 23, 2003

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  • Work & Faith
  • Rest & Sabbath
Luke 6:1-11
RS 156-6


What does it mean to follow Jesus and apply the gospel to every single area of life? In Luke 6, we look to an area of life that’s covered in the fourth commandment: sabbath rest.

We all have somewhat different relationships to work. There are people, for example, who are out of work and would love to have more work. But by and large, one of the biggest problems we have is the discipline of getting sabbath rest.

As we look at sabbath rest, we’re going to ask 1) Why do we need it? 2) Where do we get it? And 3) How do we do it?

Luke 6:1–11

Jesus’ discussion with the Pharisees in Luke’s book, where He uses David’s story to explain His actions on the Sabbath, highlights Jesus’ role as the Lord of the Sabbath. This story helps us understand the fourth commandment better, focusing on the importance of taking a break on the Sabbath. Even in a bustling city like New York, taking a Sabbath rest is important and can be a part of our everyday lives.

1. Why do we need it?

Jesus and His disciples did things on the Sabbath that some thought were wrong, showing us that rest is important, even in a world where everyone seems to be working all the time. Today’s society pressures us to work too much, so we need planned rest, not just stopping when we’re tired. The old practice of the Sabbath helps us meet our deep need for spiritual rest, which we need in addition to physical rest.

2. Where do we get it?

When Jesus was accused of doing wrong on the Sabbath, He talked about David and holy bread, showing that rules about worship can change, but moral laws don’t. The idea of rest and being satisfied with our work is tied to the gospel and being a Christian, which emphasizes that life is complete through Jesus Christ. The Sabbath helps remind us of our connection to God. Being a Christian means we find real rest and satisfaction in Jesus’ work, not our own, recognizing our worth comes from accepting Christ.

3. How do we do it?

Before we can truly respect the Sabbath, we need to experience the deep rest that Jesus Christ offers, freeing us from the pressures and expectations of society. It’s important to find value in things other than work, spend our Sabbath time doing a variety of activities, and keep ourselves from working too much. We need to embrace the peace and calm that come from Christ’s completed work, let go of trying to be perfect and working out of fear, and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit to balance work and life better.



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