To Sleep or Not to Sleep?
Seriously, I do. One major difference between my wife and I is this: If we have a free afternoon with nothing planned – she wants to get out and do something! Me? I want to take a nap.
This week I wrestled with two ‘sleepy’ texts that seem to contradict one another.
Psalm 127:2 says, “It is in vain that your rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
Now that’s a verse worth memorizing!!! God gives sleep to those He loves! Yes! Let’s go take a nap to remind ourselves of how much God loves us!!! Let’s sleep to the glory of God!!
But then I read Proverbs 20:13 – “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.”
What? I thought God gave the ones He loves sleep!?!? Now I read it is wrong to love sleep?? Which is it? Is it okay to sleep or not?
I think both passages are warning of two extremes. The first is warning against thinking that you have to work so hard that if you didn’t exist, the world would stop spinning. The second is warning against thinking that what you do doesn’t matter and that “it’s all going to work out in the end anyway.” One says, “Don’t work with the mentality that everything would crumble without you.” The other says, “Don’t live (and sleep!) as if your efforts are futile.” One gives the impression that God is not in control and its’s all up to the human. The other gives the impression that God is in control, so there is no need of the human doing anything.
I think if we were to lay these verses on top of the other it would look something like this: “Work hard! God has given you responsibility to give all you have toward what you do. And when you close your eyes to rest, sleep hard! Let it remind you that God doesn’t need you. He can operate the world without you. In fact, He’s staying up while you sleep in order to work on your behalf.”
The apostle Paul put it this way: “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are totally dependent on Him.
Work is a daily reminder from God that He has ordained humans to carry out His purposes.
There’s nothing like a good nap after some hard work is there?