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    Working the Sixth Day

    August 24, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    I recently felt convicted. I read this article, linked to the Large Family Logistics email newsletter that I receive once a month. The subject was on keeping a consistently clean house, and I always feel like I need a bit of a push in that direction, so I read it. The article starts out with this verse:


    Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
    Deuteronomy 5:13


    The second I read the verse, it dawned on me that I was very resistant to working a sixth day. I suppose I am a union member at heart! The unions worked hard early on to create a five-day work week, and I think my way of thinking about work {until now} has been more formed by union platforms and policies than I would ever have liked to admit. I expected all of my work to fit into five days, with two days for relaxation and, admittedly, a bit of self-indulgence. And it doesn’t fit, ever. And I would usually sigh and wonder where all my time went.

    Maybe I am slow, but I feel I finally understand that I was trying to do six days’ work in five. Something I think I needed to accept is that there is nothing wrong with working the sixth day, for this is the model set out by God.

    I hear a lot of people, even if they don’t believe in celebrating a literal Sabbath, encouraging a weekly time of rest. Speakers will often tell listeners that they are too busy, and rest needs to become more of priority. And, when I look at the rat race outside my door, I can see the point. But I also think that there is embedded in all the busyness a constant striving for leisure that holds work in very low regard. I often hold work in low regard.

    I recently read this quote, from the book on Jonathan and Sarah Edwards entitled Marriage to a Difficult Man:


    [A] Puritan housewife shined up her house on Saturday, and did a colossal baking. Then after three o’clock on Saturday afternoon, the mood of expectancy began to build up to the pivotal day. These people really believed that Sunday would bring an encounter with a living and dependable God who had brought them to the new land and watched over their effort to build His holy commonwealth.


    What I noticed was that the beautiful, exciting day of rest was preceded by a day of hard labor. Perhaps one does not fully experience the depth of leisure and renewal the seventh day offers when one does not fully work.

    As for me, I have begun to work more fully. It was amazing to me a couple weeks ago that working hard inside on Saturday morning really lessened the load of the other five days. The work was still there, but the stress of cramming it into a space where it didn’t fit was gone.


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