The Inside Column 21/10

Posted in: The Inside Column- Oct 21, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

This weekend (being Labour weekend), is a time when we remember the work of Samuel Parnell.

A carpenter and joiner by trade who stood up for the rights of New Zealand labourers and instigated the eight hour working day. Unhappy with the working conditions and long hours he saw his contemporaries enduring – sometimes fourteen plus per day – Parnell argued that ‘Of the twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for men to do what little things they want for themselves’.

Although many businesses and business men were not impressed by this notion – In 1840, New Zealand workers were among the first in the world to claim the right to an eight hour working day and ‘Labour day’ as it is now known was first celebrated on 28 October 1890, when several thousand trade union members attended parades and picnics in all the main centres.

Samuel Parnell was passionate that people who work should be entitled to receive time off for rest and recreation. Interestingly this is something that is also close to God’s heart for us. When He created the world, he instituted a day for this very purpose – a seventh day of rest. In the Old Testament this was known by the Israelites as the Sabbath – a holy day, set aside to revere and remember God, spend time with family and refrain from working in order to recharge. No one was allowed to work, not even a little bit, not even slaves or animals! Imagine setting aside a day of the week for your cow to take a siesta today. God’s concept of rest also extended to the land, for six years the Israelites would work it and then every seventh, leave it to take a breather.

Today, living in the NT, we are not bound to observe the Sabbath like the Israelites – but we are certainly not called to ignore God’s call to honour Him by taking time out from our week to enjoy a break. In Kiwi culture, working long hours and being overly driven is often championed – some still consider working less hours or taking time off as being lazy or weak! However If Jesus himself spent time away from people and ministry to pray and roam the hills, it’s an indicator we should seriously consider incorporating the discipline of rest into our weekly rhythms. This doesn’t mean  we merely choose to give God a token portion of our time each week – our working life and restful life and ministry life are one and the same, it’s all time spent with God – but it does mean we need to be intentional in reaping the benefits of planned time off with God and family to renew.


Challenging stuff eh. Enjoy your Monday.




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