Daily Blog Email
Everyone is always busy. We have so much to do all the time. We all have our reasons, right?
For some of us, we can’t learn to say “No” when others ask us to volunteer for projects or sit on boards. For others of us, it’s because of our kids, who “can’t drive themselves to band practice, you know.” Some of us, unfortunately, keep ourselves busy because it makes us feel important.
Then there are those of us who are too busy because we worship our work, no matter how much we enjoy it or hate it, because we worship the provision and security it provides.
On Tuesday of this week, I shared a new study from Harvard Business Review/Happify that shows Millennials think about work more than their parents’ or grandparents’ generations did. Contrary to the idea that Millennials are lazy bums who mooch of their parents, the data shows Millennials are concerned with work more than the average American. They look for happiness in it.
This is a problem in the Church, and not just among Millennials. Many of us worship work (or school) more than we worship Jesus. Our happiness, contentment, joy, and all-around fulfillment is more often found in promotions and raises than in the Lord and the ways in which he has blessed us.
However, this is a problem whose solution need not fall solely on the shoulders of the pastor. Pastors can overwork themselves, too, without even noticing it; they can come to worship their roles as shepherds just as accountants can worship their roles or mechanics can worship theirs.
Conquering the idols of work and career advancement and money must be a community effort. The local church community must work together in order to protect the hearts of the people against false idols. Here are three ways the local church can do this:
So much in the fight against sin relies upon the tight-knit community of your local church. Community groups are key for accountability in all areas; this holds true in the fight against making an idol of work.
As your community groups meet, or as you grab coffee with a church friend, keep a keen ear toward where others are finding their joy, or on the other side, keep a keen ear toward what is driving them crazy. The local church needs each member to hold others accountable because it is devastatingly easy to become blind to our own idolatry.
Make sure your friends are spending time with their families, spending time alone, or whatever; just make sure no one is finding their identity in work. Ask probing questions to get at this.
Unless you’ve inherited a fortune and plan to live in a beach house for the rest of your life, you have to work sometime. All of us have to work in order to provide for our families and ourselves. It’s a reality. Hopefully, this isn’t always a burden—it is possible, and healthy, to find work that you enjoy. I enjoy my job right now, and it has made getting up in the morning a tad easier than in the past.
Because we all have to work, we might as well make the most of it. As a church, or a community group, spend some time brainstorming how you all can live on mission at work. Perhaps you take a friend to lunch once or twice a month to get to know him or her better and share the gospel with them. Maybe you start conversations around the water cooler that go beyond sports scores and politics.
At a most basic, foundational level, your community group could simply encourage one another and pray toward having the grace of acting like Christ in the workplace. That can be challenging enough.
It sounds cheesy, but it’s so important. The comparison game is so easy to play, even if you’re “not someone who cares about money.” As of September, I will have been in the corporate world three years longer than I ever planned to be, and I have found that it can be so tempting to measure the worthiness of your work in how much you make.
The local church, through community groups or other such small-group avenues, must work to remind each other that Christ defines our worth, not our salaries or house sizes.
Work, its politics, or its pay seduce the followers of Christ in an effort to gain their worship. It’s the job of the members of the local church, not just the pastor, to fight back against this temptation and push toward a worship of Christ alone.
Work is an oppressive idol. It asks for your soul and gives you some money in return. Don’t give in; rely on your brothers and sisters in Christ.