In a letter to a friend, Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote about the undeniable attractiveness of resting, but goes on to say–

“It is only said of the dead in the Lord that they rest from their labors; I fear I must not think of rest until then. Time is short, my time especially, and sinners are precious. I fear many are slumbering because I watch not with sufficient diligence, nor blow the trumpet with sufficient clearness.”

M’Cheyne’s holy anxiety was to labor for the Lord and do as much good as he could while his short season for doing so last. This is not to say, of course, that vacations or recreation are wrong. It is not saying that we should allow ourselves no leisure time, but instead be always busy doing good to others. That would be to take things to an unhealthy and unwarranted extreme.

In a society, however, that is addicted to pleasure–when so many live for playing–when the big thing in life is to enjoy yourself and have fun–when that’s what people work for and look forward to in retirement–then it is a very necessary word. Are we addicted to pleasure? Time is short and our season for doing good will shortly be over. We need to make the best of it while we have it. It’s what life is for–doing good to others.

And what a great incentive Paul gives us! See Galatians 6:9 and you will see it. We have the promise of a harvest: “In due season, we will reap if we do not give up.” Good will certainly be done by us and good will be received by us as well. In this life and in the life to come. It’s a promise! As Paul assures us elsewhere, our labor in the Lord “is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

– David Campbell

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