Until you do this, you’ll never truly rest

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:28-33)

I began this series by asking you two questions:

  1. What is the work beneath your work? 
  2. How does the gospel free you from that work? 

We’ve already explored two of the most common answers to that first question: performance and avoidance. Today, we look at one final work beneath our work: fear.

This may be the most universal of all that we’ve explored. Entrepreneurs overwork themselves for fear that if they “don’t put in the work,” they won’t be able to provide for their families and their teams. Employees overwork for fear of losing their income and health insurance.

Now, some of this fear is healthy. 1 Timothy 5:8 says that “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

But fear is terribly unhealthy and sinful if it controls you. If it plagues your thoughts. If it leads you to overwork or not faithfully “stand in for God,” and say hard things when they need to be said to your boss or customers.

How can we be freed from fear—from this work beneath our work? The same way we are freed from performance and avoidance: the person and character of Jesus Christ.

In today’s passage, Jesus promised his followers that if we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” he will meet our every need. Why can you trust this promise when your job is on the line? Because God provided for your ultimate need of spiritual redemption even when it cost him the life of his Son. If God kept that promise, surely he will keep his promise to provide you with food and clothing. 

If the work beneath your work is fear, let that truth free you today. But maybe the work beneath your work isn’t fear, avoidance, or performance. Maybe it’s something else that I don’t know.

But here’s what I do know: Until God’s glory and the good of others is the predominant motivation for your work, you will never be satisfied. You will never be able to truly rest. You will never find sustainable fuel for the good works God has called you to do.

So do the hard work of identifying the work beneath your work. And meditate on the gospel of Jesus Christ that frees you to work solely for his glory, the good of others, and your joy.


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