Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Deny yourself... of work!

We got up early this morning and went for a swim at the 'Y'. As I drove, the lovely Carol read to me from the Bible. She read something from the Psalms, and Proverbs 10.19, and then something from Leviticus 23, about the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month. Regarding that day, it says three times that the Israelites are to deny themselves. Of what? Of work!
Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.
Leviticus 23.28-29
Were they supposed to deny themselves of anything else? Maybe, but that's the only thing mentioned three times along with the injunction to deny themselves.

In other words, "deny yourself" doesn't always mean to abstain from sex, say, or food. And what's the opposite of self-denial? Self-indulgence -- in other words, work is sometimes an indulgence. It was back then, and it still is today. We even have a word, "workaholic," to describe those who indulge too much in this.

Why is it an indulgence? For me, when I'm doing something, I can feel productive and like I'm justifying my existence. I feel good about myself. And where is God in all that?

Which I guess is why it's good to stop. Which I will right here.

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