Labor Day: It’s Not Just About Work

Did you work yesterday?  It was Labor Day, but we’re all supposed to rest aren’t we? Even though we’ve turned our celebration of work into the official college football kickoff weekend, there’s some important lessons we can learn that apply to basketball, life, and faith. While I spent some time evaluating and planning changes for this website (That’s right – 3PW, 2.0!) and some people used yesterday as a day to get caught up or to get ahead in their work, many used the day to take a well-deserved rest.  It’s interesting that we celebrate work by taking a break from work.  In fact, since our nation was founded on Biblical principles, it’s no surprise that most of us understand the concept of a day of rest or what the Hebrew culture calls Shabbat or Sabbath – but the day of rest concept is much more than just God showing us how to take a break.

FAITH – “and God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 2:2 says:

By the seventh day God had finished the work He had done; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.

This is what most of us remember.  God rested.  But do you ever wonder like me, did God really need a rest?  Was he tired out and in need of a footstool?  Not my God.  He didn’t rest because he was tired.  He rested because He was done and He rested to consider what He had done.  That’s what many of us miss.  Each day He worked, God finished by evaluating His work; and since He’s perfect, His work was perfect.  Shabbat is not simply resting and work is not simply a paycheck. God shows us from the start of Creation, that there’s value in working hard. Rest is important, but since we’re not perfect, we also need to follow His example and check our work.

LIFE – Rest and Review

7 Great MenOne book I read this summer had a profound effect on me, so much so that I’ll be referring to it in future posts.  One of the men chronicled by Eric Metaxas in Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness is Eric Liddell. Best known through the film Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell set an example for all of us in his commitment to honor the Sabbath by choosing to not run in his best event, the 100 meters, in the 1924 Paris Olympics because it was held on Sunday.  He ended up breaking the world record in the 400 instead and went on to do even more remarkable work as a missionary (that’s the REAL story, by the way!).  Whether you agree with his view of the Sabbath or not, consider that he simply didn’t take the day off to rest, but he took it off to honor God and to use the day to evaluate his faith and grow deeper in his relationship with God, which he considered to be his life’s true work.

I’ve made this mistake too many times in my life.  I want to take a rest, especially when I’ve earned a rest, but I haven’t always followed God’s example to consider my work.  During my last year as a Division I coach, I didn’t take the time to evaluate the job I was doing.  I simply thought if I worked as hard as I could and did more than was expected from me, I would have some security.  I failed to consider that how you work on a staff is just as important as how hard you work. After we under-performed the season before, my response to the uneasiness was to take on more scouting assignments, watch more film, and to never turn down a recruiting trip.  That seems honorable, but it wore me down, so much so that my doctor told me I was the first 40 year-old he had seen develop a “mono-like” anemia condition and sleep issues.  I was irritable, jumpy, and at times, hard to work with.

We live in a busy, hectic world.  If you don’t work hard, if you don’t pay the price, you’ll fall behind – but at what cost?  Take the rest you’ve earned, but make sure you use that time to consider your work.

BASKETBALL – How you rest is just as important as how you work!

We don’t just rest during halftime, do we?  We take time to consider how we’re playing and what we need to do in the second half.  A mark of a well-coached team is making the most out of halftime and other rest periods.  In college basketball, we’re required to take one day a week off.  It’s a rest day, but it should also be an evaluation day for players and coaches alike.  We need to consider the job we’re doing.  Another mark of good coaching occurs when a team returns to practice after an off-day.  Good teams with good players come back rested, focused, and determined to get better.  That only happens when you take a moment, as God did, to evaluate your work!

3 Point Wisdom 2.0

So after almost 50 articles and nearly 3,000 visitors to my site, I took the weekend to consider my work.  When I started, my  goal was to pursue wisdom and  I wanted to grow in wisdom by connecting basketball, life, and faith.  My work has helped me see those connections, express them, and share them, but I continue to see more!  As I continue, one change I’ll be making is that, as in this article, I may not always start with a basketball observation.  I’m seeing more and more that the lessons I learn in my faith and in my life can be used on the basketball court.  I invite you to stick with me, contact me, and question me.  Let’s pursue wisdom together!