Testimony 187. Overtime culture prevails, how to work hard and enjoy life at the same time?


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Overtime culture prevails, how to work hard and enjoy life at the same time? Keller et al. Oak Word Studio

Which is more pleasing to God for Christians to work hard or enjoy life? It is believed that the instinct of many people is inclined to the former, otherwise, there would not be so many members of the Christian community who have been hastily swallowed up in spiritual life; But there must be many people who are more concerned about the latter, otherwise, there would not be so many people who have nothing to do on the grounds of retreating to the inner room to be quiet and close to God. Today’s two articles can help us have a clearer understanding of how to work hard and concentrate on and efficiently, and also return to rest peacefully and enjoy the abundant grace that God has bestowed upon us. May all of us learn not to be burdened by all kinds of work and not to spend our days idle!

In this way, all things in heaven and earth were created. On the seventh day, God finished His work; On the seventh day, God stopped all his work. God blessed the seventh day by sanctifying it because on this day God stopped all his work of creation and rested. (Genesis 2:1-3)

Six days of toil, do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; On this day, you and your children, your servants and cattle, and the sojourners who dwell in your city shall not do any work. (Exodus 20:9-10)

The first thing the Bible begins with is work. It can be seen that work is very important and the basis of everything. The writers of Genesis regarded God’s creation of the universe as work and put the great work of creation in seven days of the week. He then shows us the work of humanity in the Garden of Eden. And we are also to realize that God Himself has rested after the work of creation (Gen. 2:2).

Many people mistake work for a curse and other things (rest, family, or even “spiritual” pursuits) as the only way to find meaning in life. Both from the biblical passages we have examined before and will be discussed later, we can see that this argument is nothing more than a lie.

But let’s also not fall into the other extreme, which is that work is the only important thing, and rest is forced to “recharge” in order to continue working. We see from God’s work in creation that God did not need to restore his strength but still rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1-3). Thus, for us who are created in His image, rest and everything we do while resting is good in itself and nourishes life.

Work is not the be-all of life. While life without work won’t be meaningful, work isn’t the whole meaning of life. If you see work as a purpose in life, even if it is church service, then you are creating an idol for yourself against God. A relationship with God is the most important cornerstone of life, and this cornerstone can keep everything else in your life (work, friendships, family, leisure) so important that it makes you addicted and distorted.

The twentieth-century German Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper wrote in his famous essay “Leisure, the Basis of Culture”: “Leisure is not just letting go of work, but an attitude of the mind, in which you can simply focus on and enjoy things themselves, without considering their value or immediate utility.” In Western culture, work-oriented thinking allows people to see everything only in terms of efficiency, value, and speed. But people must be able to enjoy the simplest and most ordinary things in life, even if some of them have no practical value but are only pleasant to the body and mind.

Even Calvin, a notoriously stern Reformationist, surprisingly agreed with this argument. Speaking about the Christian life, he warns us not to judge the value of things solely on the basis of practicality: “Doesn’t God make us happy and happy when He prepares food for us, not only when he is full (providing basic nourishment)? The clothes on our bodies not only keep us warm but also dress us up dignified. In addition to their own functions, grass, green trees, vegetables, and fruits are also pleasing to the eye and exude a refreshing fragrance. Isn’t it pleasing to the eye that God created things, in addition to giving them the necessary uses? ”

In other words, we should look at all this and marvel, “The heavens of the universe may be dazzling or beautiful, the creatures on earth may be large or small, and all things in the world may be wise or wonderful, all created by God the Father.” ”

Only by constantly stopping our work and spending time in worship (which Pepper considers worship to be the first thing in “leisure”) can we truly experience the meaning of life simply by meditating and enjoying the world, including the fruits of our work. Piper writes:Leisure is the state of thinking about things with joy – a positive state of mind. It’s not the same as taking a break from work – leisure is more like the occasional silence when lovers talk, and that silence is part of the conversation. As the Bible says, when God “rests in all his work,” He sees that everything He has created is fine (Gen. 1:31), so leisure allows one to focus pleasantly and approvingly on the nature of creation.

All in all, hard work is essential to live a meaningful life. Work is God’s most precious gift to us, a pillar of purpose in life. But we must put work in perspective and not put it above God. We have to stop working from time to time to recover our bodies, and at the same time enjoy this world and ordinary life.

Work passionately, but don’t sell your soul for it

Leland Reiken, The Puritans Who Entered the World

Another legacy of the Puritan view of work is the idea of moderate work. At the two extremes of the attitude to work (one extreme is extreme idleness or laziness; At the other extreme, slavishly indulged in work), the Puritans theoretically tried to maintain the middle way. But in practice, they often tend to overwork.

One modern interpretation of the Puritan work ethic is correct—the Puritans despised idleness and praised hard work, and Baxter often showed impatience on the issue of idleness, saying, “It is despicable and sinful not to work.” Robert Bolton called idleness “the rusty, long ulcer of the soul.”

In his influential book, The Ordinary Man’s Way to Heaven, Arthur Dent wrote, “God does not allow anyone to live idle. Elizabeth Joselyn wrote in The Mother’s Gift to the Unborn Child: “You are a man, and you are ashamed of idleness; You are a Christian and are anxious for idleness. It is clear from these statements that Puritan ethics held that work was not only a social obligation but also an individual responsibility.

The Puritans criticized idleness while appreciating hard work, not because hard work was an intrinsic virtue, but because it was the means God assigned to mankind to provide for what they needed. Baxter wrote: “God commands you to somehow earn daily meals. Thomas Wattson envisioned: “Religion does not seal human idleness—God assigns all his children to work—and God blesses us for our diligence, not laziness.” ”

The Puritans had a strong aversion to idleness and praised work, in part because they were convinced that labor was the work that creation was ordained to do and that it was therefore necessary for the good of mankind. William Perkins wrote, “Adam could do whatever he wanted before he sinned, but God let him work.” In John Robinson’s view, “God allowed our first fathers to labor even in sinlessness—much less to let sinful human descendants live idle lives.” Man is destined to work hard – both physically and mentally, like a spark flying upwards. ”

Baxter writes, “Adam the sinless was placed in the Garden of Eden to govern the garden; In the flesh, both body and soul must have work to do. Work is both created and ordained to be done recognizing that labor itself and its response to God are honorable.

The Puritans believed that even “spiritual” was not an excuse for idleness. Richard Steele objected to “neglecting human necessity under the pretext of religious worship.” Thomas Shepard advises a religious fanatic who complains that thoughts about godly matters distract him from his work: “It is a sin to have earthly thoughts when God has appointed you to do spiritual, heavenly work; Similarly, from a certain point of view, when God has assigned you to work on earth, it is also sin to distract you and think about spiritual things. ”

But then, does the puritan ethic inevitably lead to workaholic syndrome? The Puritans thought otherwise. They try to find a balance for their diligence by explicitly limiting overwork. Their ideal is still moderation.

John Preston said: “Be careful not to overdo things, and not to work in detail and without restraint. Philip Stubbs cautioned that “every Christian should not allow “him to overwork before God” and “exceed the limits of true godliness.” Moreover, “the Lord does not allow us to be greedy or to work without restraint; We should not worry about tomorrow today, because one day of difficulty is enough. ”

Robert Woodrow, a Scottish theologian, commented: “I humbly believe that we have been too partial to work and neglected more valuable things, and such sins will be recorded in our verdicts.” ”

On the subject of “part-time,” Richard Steele points out that one should not “work two or three jobs just to increase one’s wealth.”

The goal of the Puritans was not to go to extremes and to conform to the middle way. Working passionately, but not selling their souls to work, is what they strive for. John Preston put it this way: “If you have pure love, then you can do all the things of the world without being defiled; But when you covet anything too much, it defiles your soul. ”

Neither idle nor workaholic, this middle-way idea is also John Cotton’s ideal:

In every living saint, there is a strange combination of two virtues, namely: on the one hand, diligence in the affairs of the world, and on the other hand, death to the world; The parties to this mystery will know, but others will not know. Although he worked diligently in the calling of heaven, his heart was not focused on these things; When he gets his belongings, he knows what to do with them.