1: Our work can become all-consuming. 

“Where one’s identity in prior generations might come from being the son of so-and-so or living in a particular part of town or being a member of a church or club,” Timothy Keller writes in Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, “today young people are seeking to define themselves by the status of their work.”

Which can become dangerous.

“Because our disordered hearts crave affirmation and validation,” Tim writes, it is tempting to make “life all about career accomplishment and very little else.”

When our lives become absorbed with work, we are wise to remember that “we must also honor work’s limits,” Tim suggests. 

“Work—and lots of it—is an indispensable component in a meaningful human life.  It is a supreme gift from God and one of the main things that gives our lives purpose. 

“But it must play its proper role,” he writes, “subservient to God.  It must regularly give way not just to work stoppage for bodily repair but also to joyful reception of the world and of ordinary life.”

2: Tim has two specific suggestions regarding how we approach our work.

First, we must rest.  We are smart to prioritize recovery.

On the seventh day, God rested (Genesis 2:2). 

And so must we.

On one hand, some people believe work is a curse and that “leisure, family, or even ‘spiritual’ pursuits are the only way to find meaning in life,” Tim notes.

The Bible makes it clear that line of thinking is deeply flawed. 

But we must also avoid the other trap, “namely, that work is the only important human activity and that rest is a necessary evil—something we do strictly to ‘recharge our batteries’ in order to continue to work.”  

3: Next, we can be intentional about savoring the world in which we live. 

“We work in a wondrous world that is designed at least partly for our pleasure,” Tim notes. 

“The author of Genesis tells us we should experience awe as we stand before the richness of the creation, for it teems with life.  God seems to delight in diversity and creativity.  Other places in the Bible speak of God’s creative activity as being motivated by the sheer delight of creating (see Proverbs 8:27-31).”

Leisure “is not the mere absence of work, but an attitude of mind or soul in which you are able to contemplate and enjoy things as they are in themselves, without regard to their value or their immediate utility,” the 20th-century Catholic philosopher Joseph Pieper writes. 

“Leisure is the condition of considering things in a celebrating spirit,” Joseph notes.  “Leisure lives on affirmation.  It is not the same as the absence of activity.”

The big takeaway?

Efficiency, value, and speed are valuable.  Of course. 

But we are wise to cultivate our ability to enjoy the most simple and ordinary aspects of life. 

More tomorrow!


Reflection: How often do I delight in the experience of being alive?

Action: Discuss with a friend or colleague.

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