Summary: Jesus went about doing good, but He also stopped and got rest so He could feel good Himself. That is balance living, and that is why the workaholic is out of God's will.
Charlemagne founded great schools of learning even though he could not read nor write. Eliza
Peters, an English woman, could also not read or write, but when she died she left her money to buy
books for a medical school so that others could advance their learning. You do not have to know
how to do something yourself to help others learn to do it. It is possible for a bachelor to teach you
how to be happily married. It is possible for a single nurse to teach you how to care for a baby, even
though she has never had a baby. It is possible for an architect, who has never pounded a nail, to
instruct you on how to build your house or church. It is even possible for a secular teacher to help a
child learn the 23rd Psalm or the Lord's Prayer.
The point of all this is, when it comes to balancing your life between work and rest I am no
great authority. I got an early start at being a workaholic. I worked 40 hours a week in secular
employment at the same time I was a full time pastor as well as a student in seminary. Any one of
the three could have kept me busy enough, but I was doing all three. I lived under pressure and was
on a treadmill that would not stop, and this became a life-style for me. It took me years to learn to
take a day off. I am no authority on the balanced life, but I can still help you see the wisdom of it,
and why it is the will of God for us. I am still learning, but some who get this wisdom early may be
able to avoid the long way around that I have taken, and get to the practice of the balanced life
The essence of the balanced life is to learn not to put all your eggs in one basket. The Pharisees
were great examples of how not to live. Their whole life was so involved in keeping the law that
they became terrible specimens of humanity. They lost all human compassion for people because all
that mattered to them was the law. They were the ultimate in legalists, and Jesus had nothing but
conflict with them because He cared more about people and their needs. When His disciples were
hungry and took some grain to eat as they walked through the field, He was not concerned about the
petty issue of whether this was work or not. There was precedent in the Old Testament where David
ate the bread that only the priests were supposed to eat. The Pharisees had no defense against this
historical record. But they did not like it.
Jesus added insult to injury and healed a man on the Sabbath. He again had an unanswerable
argument when He said, "Is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath-to save or destroy life?"
They had no clever comeback, for there was none. Jesus had outsmarted them and they were
furious. They began to plot how to get rid of Him. If you can't destroy a man's arguments, you
either have to accept his truth or destroy the man. They choose the latter and plotted His murder.
This illustrates just how serious it is to become addicted to any idea or concept that is not absolute.
The Sabbath was the addiction of the Pharisees. They could be called Sabbathaholics, and the New
Testament is clearly anti-Sabbathaholic.
The New Testament is radically different from the Old Testament when it comes to the Sabbath.
Paul stresses the liberty of the individual conscience. He writes to the Christians in Rome where
there was obvious conflict among those who felt obligated to keep the whole law, and those who felt
equally obligated not to be bound by it. He wrote in Rom. 14:5, "One man considers one day more
sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in
his own mind." The idea of one Christian trying to regulate another Christian's life, and telling them
they should not shop on Sunday, eat out, or go to a sporting event says Paul is an attempt to play
In verse 4 he asks, "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands orfalls."
Paul is shockingly liberal when it comes to the liberty of the individual as to how he observes
the Sabbath, or any other day. If a Christian is convinced that what he does pleases his Lord, then he
the right to do that without flack from fellow servants. Paul came to this conclusion because he
believed that the Old Testament laws concerning the Sabbath were repealed by the coming of Christ.