Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Work (Spiritual) Life Balance

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

14th October 2012

An ethics professor at Princeton Seminary asked for volunteers for an extra assignment. About half the class met him at the library to receive their assignments. The professor divided the students into three groups of five each. He gave the first group envelopes telling them to proceed immediately across campus to Stewart Hall. He told them that they had 15 minutes and if they didn't arrive on time, it would affect their grade. A minute or two later, he handed out envelopes to five others. They were also to go over to Stewart Hall, but they had 45 minutes. The third group had three hours to get to Stewart Hall.

The students weren't aware of it, but the professor had arranged for three drama students to meet them along the way. Close to the beginning of their walk, one of the drama students had his hands on his head and was moaning aloud as if in great pain. About half way to Stewart Hall, on the steps of the chapel, the seminary students passed a man who was lying face down as if unconscious. Finally, on the steps of Stewart Hall, the third drama student was acting out a seizure.

In the first group of students, those who had only 15 minutes to get across campus, no one stopped to help. In the second group, two students stopped to help. In the last group, the one that had three hours for their assignment, all of the students stopped to help at least one person. The professor had clearly shown these seminarians that hurry hinders ministry.

When we are so consumed with what needs to be done, the work we have to do, and when we need to finish, our spiritual life inevitably suffers.

Being a workaholic, always rushing from hither to yon, is getting worse. It’s now estimated that in 2012:

  • Approx 1 in 5 people work more than 60 hours a week compared to 1 in 8 in 2000
  • Approx 1 in 7 women work more than 60 hours a week compared to 1 in 16 in 2000

This can have a very negative on our relationship with God.

Part of the challenge of being salt and light in our workplaces is not conforming to the way the world operates.

It gives us an opportunity to show our values, and even though work is incredibly important, what we have been entrusted with by God, such as our marriages, our children, our church commitment, our personal spiritual life, and concern for our community, has to be given the right priority and be properly accommodated.

So how can we do that? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Know when to stop

In Mark chapter 11 after Jesus entered Jerusalem he went into the Temple, but since it was already late he decided that his work for that day was over and he returned home with his disciples. Jesus was never lazy but nevertheless knew when to stop.

And we have to be able to determine when a day’s work is done, which can be difficult when we are faced with tight deadlines and long-hour working cultures. If we don’t we will not be living healthy balanced lives.

2. Know the meaning of success

What is your definition of success? It’s important that you know because your definition will determine your approach to day-to-day living. Often success means career advancement, bigger salaries, prestige and position. If this is the case then the likelihood is that you’ll spend more and more time at work rushing around to secure success.

But absent, workaholic dads may have fantastic careers but at home their marriages may be falling apart and have no meaningful relationship with their kids. Ultimately “success” is becoming more like Jesus Christ. Let this goal determine how you live and work each day.

3. Know what needs to be done

It’s important that we recognise what are the important things that need to be done.

The reason why Martha received a mild rebuke from Jesus when He came to stay was that she failed to recognise that even though catering (work) is normally important, the most important thing was to spend time with Him during the time He was there.

Where we can we need to work in order to support ourselves and our families so that we are not a burden on the State, but our number one priority is ‘wasting time’ with Jesus. Getting to know and love Him; building a relationship with Him. Then out of that relationship we’ll be better husbands and wives, better parents, better members of our communities and better employees and employers.

Have a good and balanced week.

Pastor Barry

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