Work is almost synonymous with stress for many of us. At my workplace, “work-life balance” is a common lunchtime topic. The presence or absence of this ‘balance’ is often the reason why people stay on or leave their jobs. This ‘balance’ seems to presuppose that work and life are two diametrically opposing entities that cannot be reconciled. It sounds logical and feels intuitive, doesn’t it? This idea seems so neutral and harmless that even Christians, including me, fail to probe a bit deeper to ask the one important question: “How does this idea stand up against the Word of God?
Work should never be at enmity with life. Work was never a result of the Fall. Before sin entered the world, God commanded Adam to tend the garden.
Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Note that the Bible begins with God at work in Creation. Jesus in the New Testament tells us that God the Father is always working (John 5:17). Engaging in legitimate work is part of being made in the image of God. Departure from a laborious life or to view work as an enemy to life is by effect a departure from God’s image:
He who slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.
In other words, work is divine and noble. Work is good and is God-given. Hence, the concept of “work-life balance” which separates work and life artificially needs not stand when we view work from the Biblical point! Now, this may sound very counter-intuitive and rightfully so, because we have confused the element of ‘stress’ and its position in this work and life dichotomy.
To work is to participate in and to be part of God’s creation. Work was initially made for our pleasure. However, after the Fall, God says that the earth will no longer yield its fruits willingly. Thorns and thistles will now frustrate us (Genesis 3:18). In other words, stress is not a result of work, it is a effect of the curse of sin.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse and has disarmed the principalities raged against us (Colossians 2:15). This means we are free from the effects sin has on work though we may still experience its nagging irritation in our lives. As Christians, we must embrace work because it is part of being alive in Christ even though we may not enjoy the stress and frustration that accompanies it due to the curse.
Therefore, we must bind every frustration and stress that stem from work because they are not from God. They are from the Enemy to delude us into thinking that work is not enjoyable and is made to frustrate us. Reject and resist its effects because Christ has already set us above it.
In conclusion, as Christians, let us not give undue emphasis to the concept of “Work-life balance”. It is not how God wants us to live our work life and it is very much a by-product of the world who is turning many into workaholics to satisfy the covetousness in them. Remember, work and life are inseparable for a Christian. We bring God’s life into our work and God uses work to bring value to our lives. Let’s embrace and celebrate work!
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, forgive me for giving much unnecessary attention to the idea of “work-life balance” and for participating in worldly discussion concerning it with my peers at work. I thank You for renewing my mind with Your Word and for helping me to understand that to walk in the renewed life of Christ is to embrace work the way You have made it to be. Use me to bring Your life into my work so that I can be a shining testimony for You at my workplace. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.