Work Can Be a Dangerous Thing
I grew up in a family of working people. My father worked around his hometown of Livingston, Texas. He worked constantly to earn his way through college. Then he went to seminary and began working in ministry positions. When my brother and I were young, he started us working too. At the house, in the yard, then odd jobs around the neighborhood. We didn't like it, mind you, but my father didn't give his boys much choice in this matter. My father believed in working hard. His used to say, "If you are getting paid for an hour of work, you ought to give a good hour of work." "Work hard and steady until the job is done." His favorite motto was, "Any job worth doing is worth doing right." My father understood that when Christian people show up at their jobs and vocations and do good work, it is a reflection on their Christianity. Integrity at work is a powerful witness to the truth of our faith.
He's right in this. But there is another side of work that I want to mention. Sometimes people whose personal worth is tied up in their jobs and in their performance at work can take things too far. If you reach a place in life where you aren't comfortable unless your are working, you are in danger. If you sit around in the evenings after working for 10 hours, and you can't think of anything to do, you are in danger. If you can't concentrate on your time with your children because you are thinking about work you'd like to be doing, you are in danger. You are in danger of becoming a workaholic. I know, because I am one. I don't know how it happened, but somewhere in my 30s, I found it increasingly difficult to enjoy leisure time because I would be so worried about the work I was facing the next day or the next week. The easiest way to comfort that worry was to sneak over to the computer and do a little of the work that night or on the weekends.
I wish I could tell you that I found a cure for this, but I haven't. All I have done so far is notice the problem. Sometimes I force myself to spend time with my children, even when some crazy voice inside me says, "You should be working." I've seen this demon and named it. I'm hoping God will help me cast it out. Workaholism is no joke. It's a real addiction. And though workaholics often do good work (of course they do. They LOVE work), that kind of working does not honor God. Our God is the God of Sabbath and rest. And unless you find the natural rhythm of work and rest, you do not honor God's beloved creation - you! Today is Monday. I imagine many of you going off to work this week. Me too. So I say let's work hard until the bell rings. And then let's go home and rest and be with our families. And when the weekend comes, find time to do nothing at all.
Doing nothing and resting is a part of your High Calling as well. Here's the scary part. I'm going to try hard to work AND rest this week. Next Monday, I'll tell you how I did with is. I admit, I'm a little nervous about this. But I'll be honest. Those of you who have similar issues, why don't you join me? Tune in next Monday and let's see how we all did.
Until then, Real Live Preacher