Skip to main content

Live to Work, or Work to Live

WLC Day 4

Over the summer I asked my uncle whether he liked his job. He responded by saying, "Some people live to work. I work to live."
It wasn't that he liked his job, nor did he dislike his job--he just tolerated it enough to do it well and make money so that he could live the rest of his life. And I really respect that.
But I wonder, is that the best case scenario?

We all know someone who is a workaholic--they enjoy the accomplishments of putting in a long hard day and doing quality work; they get their sense of purpose through their paycheck and the accolades associated with the job. This is someone who lives to work, and I would argue in an unhealthy way.

On the flip side is our friend who puts in just the minimum amount of effort at work--they arrive just in time and leave as soon as possible; they collect their paycheck and have thought of a hundred ways they would like to spend it once they get home. This is someone who works to live.

And naturally there are people at every point between these two extremes, occupying various levels of working vs. living.

Lately I have begun to wonder if there is a third choice: work to bring life. What if you felt so thoroughly convinced that the work you did bettered other people's lives and provided value to other people. You worked enough time to make the money necessary for expenses but went home when you felt you had made enough* each day. And when you got home you had purpose and things to work towards there too. Working on your family, working on your faith, and working on your health...as some examples. What if working and living were both good things and you valued both equally? 

*Proverbs 30:8b-9
"Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my daily portion, that I not be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God."

Our word vocation comes from the Latin word vocare: to call. Thus, a vocation should not just be an occupation but rather a calling.

I'm still looking to see if this balance is possible, but there is something deep inside me that says work should be about more than just collecting an income, it should be about fulfilling a vocation. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Protesting ChristMass

During a meeting with several other Cincinnati area worship ministers last week we got to talking shop about Christmas/Christmas Eve services; who was doing them, who was not, how many and what time. I was intrigued (neither positive nor adverse reaction) to find that roughly a third of the churches represented were not having any kind of Christmas Day services, even though Christmas morning is a Sunday this year. Yet there was one leader (Reggie) who said that their church has a Christmas morning worship service every year regardless of whether it falls on a Sunday.

Initially this shocked me. How could this be? Why would this be? Why have a church service every Christmas? Why not stay home and eat cinnamon rolls and open presents like the rest of America? Reggie said many of the people who expect this from his congregation are not native North Americans. Initially Reggie was against the idea, but once he realized how many people from his congregation wanted to have a Christmas mornin…

Casting A Conscientious Vote

Here's the thing America: you nominated two terrible representatives for public office--one "Republican" and one Democrat. Both of their campaign managers have decided that the strongest approach to get elected is to basically claim "at least I'm not them." Both parties have released ad campaigns to bash the other candidate and both, I might argue, do so quite effectively.

Now that I have successfully been persuaded that I should vote for neither candidate (thanks to the other candidate), I am left wondering who there is left to vote for. Certainly there is some candidate who is both qualified as a politician and as a person of reasonable morals??

Enter the 3rd party system.
America was founded against a national party system (you can read about that here for an enlightening time). And yet it is this national party system that has allowed a Democratic convert like Donald Trump to represent the Republican party. Trump knew that the only way to have a shot at…

The Home School Game

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Our family has started a tradition of celebrating this day by opening gifts from our stockings on this day and remembering the historical figure of Nicholas, who was a humble and generous person. It is a wonderful compromise for our family backgrounds to both celebrate Santa Claus and at the same time keep Christ-mas about Christ. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year.

This year, we decided to add an element of teaching our children to be generous by choosing toys they want to give away to other girls and boys who are less fortunate than our children. Katie lined up two dozen toys they had not been playing with for some time now and laid them all out on a table. One by one, our kids examined the toys on the table and were instructed to pick out onetoy they wanted to keep for themselves. After each kid had picked out a toy to keep, they were told to go back through the toys and pick another toy they wanted to give away. It was heart-…