The Guilty Clock
In the west, it is a badge of honor to work like a dog. I am guilty, both of putting in too many hours (ironic humble brag?) and of having my identity tied to being a hard worker. I realized today after some thought that if someone questioned my work ethic it would hit a really sensitive nerve. I'm bought in to the hard work contest.
Now we do need to be efficient and to make the best use of our time. That's Ephesians 5:16. But in 1 Timothy 5:13 and also 2 Thessalonians 3:11 Paul talks about the foolishness of being a 'busybody.'
I think many of us are busybodies.
A busybody is someone who moves but doesn't do, talks but never says anything. They run life on a treadmill and pat themselves on their sweaty back like they've just run a marathon. Lots of action, few results. The value is in the effort and the spotlight is on the action.
Hour-counting guilt destroys vacations and invades rest. I think that's why I find it hard to sit still sometimes.
God worked hard, then rested. Not checked His cosmic smart phone every 3 seconds - rested. Because God Himself is the ultimate rest where our souls drink life water, we need to seek Him in prayer, Scripture, nature, and community if we really want to rest. Sleeping in isn't enough.
The solution to any issue begins with awareness. If we start that hour-counting nonsense and find ourselves in a frenzied pace for an extended period of time, this should at some point sound the warning siren that balance is leaving us.
I guess this depends on your work ethic, though. Frankly, some of you could use some frenzy in your work life. But many of you find the pace of life to be unsustainably fast and I think the guilty clock nipping at your heels is the primary cause. It is for me, anyway.
At its root, the guilty clock feeds on lack of trust in God. This is twofold: 1) we believe that God will not really provide for us if we sit still and 2) we believe that our identity in Christ as a child of God is not quite enough - we need to build an empire. Both of these trust deficiencies are big fat lies, proven false by the penetrating love of Jesus.
The solution - trust, work hard, and rest. It is a simple method - but trust comes first and orders the work/rest balance. We have to start with trust.
Photo credit: Max Kokhlov via Flickr