Genesis 1:27-28 (ESV)
 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
As Americans we have begun to act as though leisure and pleasure are the ultimate good in life. My grandparents' generation placed a high value on work. It was how life went. Rest and play were for the purpose of enabling them to work more effectively. My parents' generation worked hard so they could retire and play comfortably. Rest was the ultimate goal, but work was an important part of life as well. My generation saw the value of play their parents had and said, "If play is so valuable why waste time working first? Let's play now." We became a recreational generation from recreational sex, drugs and Rock and Roll to toys of all kinds. Now, as we are getting to retirement age, we've had more toys than any generation to precede us, and we're wondering how we will be able to keep up this recreational lifestyle, whether it is really all it is cracked up to be, where our lives went and whether we did anything significant with them. In three generations we moved from understanding rest as a means to be more effective in work to understanding work as a necessary evil so that we can rest.
Biblically we were not designed and created to play. We were designed and created to work. Rest was a means to becoming more effective at work. Rest and play was never the goal. Of course, because of the Fall of mankind pain became an integral part of work making it less rewarding. Stress fills our lives even as we try to ignore it through play. As we age even the fun of play is dulled by pain. When we make play the ultimate goal in life we are left disillusioned and disappointed. We were ultimately designed to "subdue (the earth) and have dominion over the fish … birds … and over every living thing … on earth." We were designed to work. Rest was simply a means of enabling us to be more effective at our work.
That is not to say that the work was intended to be drudgery, painful or unrewarding. Those are consequences of the Fall. Work is a key part of what it means to be made in the image of God. We need to learn, as believers, to view work and rest through the lens of creation rather than through the cultural lens of recreation.
Father, I confess that I have often failed to view work through the lens of your Word and your creation. Forgive me. Teach me the meaning and value of work and the proper place of rest and recreation.
By His grace,