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July 22, 2009

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 127

The Embarrasment of Riches. Don't you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? Psalm 127:2b (MSG)

I have been reading a weighty book that my wife gave me for my birthday. The Embarrassment of Riches by Simon Schama is a treatise on the Dutch culture. It investigates of how the little nation rose from medeival obscurity into the greatest economic power in the world in only two generations. Schama summarizes his own endeavor by saying that he wanted to find out what made the Dutch so, well, Dutch.

Being born to a Dutch father, I have been raised in what is known as the Dutch work ethic. The Dutch work hard. As I've been reading, our forefathers survived by raising their homeland out of the sea. By the sweat of their brow and the pumping of their windmills they tamed the ocean and made it do their bidding. Then they restlessly scoured the earth on their merchant ships and eventually drove the world's economy. My Dutch forebears brought their Dutch work ethic to America and scraped new life from the wild, untamed American prairie. The Dutch mantra could very well have come from Solomon: "Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its' ways and be wise." If it's one thing I've been raised to appreciate, it's the value of hard work.

Raised in that obsessive work ethic, rest is easily seen as a vice - not a virtue on equal terms with work. It's easy to look at rest with secret suspicion and scorn. God is, however, adamant about the importance and value of rest. Isn't it interesting that working hard did not make the list of the ten commandments, but resting did?


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1-2 If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks. I am reminded this morning of the need to bring God into the building process of the church basement. A few days ago I was prompted to have some people pray over the room, while in construction, knowing that lives will change there. I didn't do it, though. Today's Scripture is God's gentle way of reminding me that this is something I need to do. I will be working on that this week.

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