• Trey Harper

Sweet Sleep

“He’s going to sleep good tonight!” My memory of this phrase is when a guy looks at a child playing to the fullest. Running around; burning energy. Actually, as a parent, I have been known to employ this strategy for my own selfish gain. Wore out youngin’s do not require as much coaxing at bedtime. The phrase is nearly a Bible verse. “Sweet is the sleep of a laborer…”, reads Ecclesiastes 5.12.

I try to remember to tell my boys this. I phrase it something like: “You can sleep like an honest man after that”, again, offering rest as a reward for hard work. I am not sure that’s any consolation in the middle of splitting a cord of wood, but it is Biblical. I believe some of the reasoning behind the verse is the sense of accomplishment. One of God’s first examples is that He accomplished His work (creation) and then on the seventh day He rested. His work was complete, so He surveyed His accomplishment and He rested.

Sweet sleep is the reward of putting in a day of hard labor. Metabolically, the time period after a body builder finishes at the gym is important. Nutrient appropriation and electrolyte utilization continue during, and beyond, the cooling off period. After strenuous activities soreness is normal. Some weightlifters miss that soreness when they skip a couple of days at the gym. They miss that confirmation that they have accomplished the work they have set out to do. We can learn from that.

We sing, “We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes”; promising obedience during our earthly existence. While Jesus promises His yoke is light- it is still a yoke; still work! We should find ourselves sore, at times, from our efforts. Also remember, the first line of the song is “O land of rest for thee I sigh”. Perhaps you are doing all you can for the Kingdom. If so, consider taking a sabbath to survey your accomplishments. “Sweet is the sleep of a laborer”.

“While we tarry below there is work to do”. On the cross, Jesus proclaims His physical work complete in His final statement, “It is finished”. Because of His work the line from Ecclesiastes takes on a whole new meaning. Sweet is the death of an obedient servant. One day we close our eyes to only open them to the sound of a trumpet. May we labor to make that sleep sweet.