What No One Tells You About Overworking
Work, work, and more work. Recently, God convicted me on how much of a workaholic I am. And not in a good way. The consequence of this is not only physical but spiritual. Overworking to the point that we are robbed of time spent with God slowly begins to negatively impact us spiritually. For example, you may find yourself downplaying spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible reading and worship - in lieu of a busy schedule and "more important" things you must do each day. It may be disguised as hard work, but really it’s a form of arrogance and idolatry.
This unconscious form of idolatry says, “God you are not nearly as important as all the other things on my to-do list.” Talk about pride, I know. After re-learning this truth, I was deeply humbled, even if it felt like I was being bulldozed off my high horse.
If we don't take care to spend our time with intention, we risk selfishly advancing our own kingdom and agendas more than the kingdom of the God we are called to serve and created to glorify. That’s a subtle form of self worship and disobedience as it causes us to love a lesser love.
Regardless of subtlety, sin is sin.
Things like grades and money are not evil in themselves, but the pursuit of these things more than the kingdom of God (to the point where we are sidetracked) can turn them into idols. We know our God is a jealous God and that idolatry is a sin that dishonors Him.
How many times have you heard the story of ‘Workaholic Martha’ and ‘Worry-less Mary’? Whether it’s umpteen times or not even once. I don’t think it would hurt to go over the invaluable lesson found in this tale of these two sisters.
[Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:39-42
Who do you relate with more, Mary or Martha? I hate to admit it, but for me, it’s often Martha. Jesus gently and patiently corrects her way of thinking and prompts Martha to prioritize as Mary had. It’s not like Martha was doing something wrong, she was merely trying to be a good homemaker, but, considering the context, it was at the expense of sitting at Jesus’s feet.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? -Luke 9:25.
Be specific and replace “the whole world” with whatever it is you feel you can’t live without or are subconsciously loving more than God. List out how you spent today, yesterday, this week, and this month. Where is your time going?
The busyness of life is tiring and consuming. We can’t let it distract us from what matters in light of eternity. We can’t let busyness compromise our spiritual disciplines. Don’t be like Martha. Set your priorities straight.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33
Our God is passionate and understanding. He is the God that neither sleeps nor slumbers yet He understands our limitations as humans and is pleased to give us rest. He set the pattern of rest for our sake as he rested on the seventh day and led the Israelites with the same pattern.
That said. This is not an excuse to be lazy or to sit with our arms folded and legs crossed, passively waiting for Jesus to return (Proverbs 6:6-11, 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12). Remember, ours is an active waiting because we are called to not grow weary in doing good.
Balance is working actively to the glorify Christ, while also knowing the value of rest.
We are stewards of the time God has given us and so we must go through our days with an eternal mindset and a gospel-centered heart. We can’t afford to live life casually. That’s exactly what Ecclesiastes repeatedly speaks about. Solomon tried everything from money to wisdom but it all proved meaningless apart from God, a mere chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
We will all have to give an account to God on how we made use of our time on this earth. To borrow the language of Jesus:
Were you a faithful and obedient servant or were you wicked and lazy?
If you are not quite sure how to faithfully manage your time, take God up on His offer and ask Him for wisdom, believing that He is willing and able to give in His abundance and riches. For He is pleased to see us trust, believe and pray to Him (James 1:5).
I have not totally and perfectly overcome workaholism, but join me as I continue to pray for wisdom to spend time in a God glorifying way as a faithful steward and to prioritize in a manner pleasing to Him.
Do you have a tendency to be a workaholic?
What are you living for? What makes you get out of bed?
How do you plan to change and honor God with your usage of time and be more like Mary?