Balance

Too Much Work Is As Bad As Too Much Play

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, phoned last week when I was on a ladder painting the top of the kitchen cupboards. The wife answered the phone and said that I was obsessed with painting the cupboards. Of course, Ed had to comment that there is no rest for wackos. When I got off the ladder and answered the phone, I told Ed, that I could not talk long as I had paint in the tray and the roller was screaming for attention.

“Some people can relax anytime; you cannot relax unless you are working. You won’t stop until you get your work done, and then you start another job. Nothing like retiring to work around the clock. Too much work is as bad as too much play. Get some balance in your life before you die,” my old neighbor scolded me.

“So glad you called,” I answered, “I didn’t move to the Pacific Ocean to have you tell me that I work too much as you did in Melville. If I didn’t listen then, why would I listen now?” I won’t tell you where the conversation went from there as it wasn’t worth repeating. Old friends can be honest with each other and challenge each other, and each knows the other will do what they do anyway. Hearing the truth doesn’t necessarily change stubborn folks like me.

It is the truth that once I start a project, I get obsessed with it, and find it hard to stop or take a break and rest. Which is very foolish for it is only the Lord that will not grow tired and weary. Being so old, I was brought up in a time when to admit to wanting to take a break from work was considered a sign of weakness. I was brought up knowing that cleanliness was next to godliness, and being tired was a sign of laziness, that was next to being devilish. Old fashioned values die with old geezers like me. Many would say good riddance.

Only the Lord understands why some folks work too much, and why some spend their lives avoiding work. For sure the Lord would have us live balanced lives with Himself at the center of our lives. Whatever work we do, we do it to the Lord with our whole heart and ability. When we rest, we do it to the Lord with thanksgiving that we can work. Work does give satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment and service to ourselves and beyond ourselves. Work can give our lives a sense of purpose.

My old neighbor is right that life is not to be centered on work or rest or play. As Christians, our life is centered on God the everlasting Creator. It is God who gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. We are always limited for even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. Thankfully as we hope in the Lord, he will renew our strength as needed.

God promises a future in heaven without the limits and excesses of this world. There we will soar on wings like eagles; run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. (See Isaiah 40:28-31)

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Raymond Maher
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