While I don’t often get political here on my website, I’ve made it no secret that I’m a conservative. However, my loyalties are to ideas and not to, say, Republicans or President Trump. I want to say that upfront since some people simply assume when I say I’m a conservative that it automatically makes me either of the latter.
I bring this up because there’s been something about conservatives that kinda bugs me, but I’m not sure any of them realize what they’re saying. Conservatives are always railing against entitlement programs, insisting that they do nothing but encourage laziness. While I would say there are those who genuinely do need the help (though I’d prefer that help come from people and not the government), I mostly agree with conservatives on this. However, I’ve often heard callers on the local conservative radio show tell the host—almost like they were bragging—about all the many, many hours they put into their jobs/businesses, often with little or no sleep. They always seemed like the kind of people I talked about in a previous blog.
As often happens, to countermand one extreme, people succumb to the opposite extreme. In this case, from laziness to overworking. In fact, some conservatives almost seem to worship work. It’s as if those copious hours being productive are the noblest of sacrifices offered to some sort of ethereal god. What they don’t mention, though, is what those sacrifices probably included: their health, their family, and perhaps even their sanity. They live their lives making money and chasing prosperity.
Yet what they don’t realize is it makes them vulnerable to the sins of greed and pride. They accumulate wealth to provide for themselves and perhaps a family, but what good is riches if they have no time to enjoy it? What good is providing for a family they rarely, if ever, see? They won’t be a person to them, but a bank. Meanwhile, the wealth they piled up becomes a means by which they can brag about themselves. They’re better than the “lazy” people on welfare because they earned what they have. It makes them feel superior, perhaps even pompous.
I’m not saying hard work, money, or prosperity are evil things. Far from it. But in the end, wealth is only a resource humans can use to make a difference in the world around them. What’s important, what has long-lasting and eternal significance, is what we do for each other. Life is about investing in people, not things. Money, possessions, businesses—they’re all fleeting.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
What we do for people, though, will outlive us. Using our money to donate to charity that help inner-city kids or feed starving people; buying thoughtful gifts for those we love; employing our neighbors at our businesses. All of these give us chances to show love and teach lessons.
Besides that, God didn’t design human beings to work constantly. Some argue that the Sabbath—a weekly day of rest—isn’t relevant anymore, but I disagree. We all need to stop working and let ourselves recharge. If we don’t, we won’t have as much, if anything, to offer others. Plus, it forces us to trust God more. Instead of working to provide for ourselves, a Sabbath requires us to trust God to provide for anything we might be able to get for ourselves if we worked. As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Balance is key. Put in your 40 hours a week, but try to avoid overtime. Why? So you have the margin to invest in the lives of your loved ones. Work eight hours, play for eight hours, and sleep for eight hours. That comes to a 24-hour day. Equilibrium.
What do you think? Do some people “worship” work? Do you? What can be done to countermand this? Should it?
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