I talked to an old friend recently who reminded me of the old saying “there are two kinds of people in the world; the kind who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t!” Just kidding. He really said the two kinds of people are those who work to live and those who live to work. My dad worked to live. As soon as his workday was over, he took on the role of husband, father, house handyman, church member and friend. Today, the only people I see working like that get paid by the hour. All the rest of us seem to be living to work. The expectations of our superiors, our customers, our organizational cultures, our titles, and ourselves . . . they own us. Yes, we get paid and that’s necessary and that’s a good thing. But are we ‘working to live’? Really?
We Americans are wildly productive and wildly available. Since I’m unemployable, childless, sleepless, undisciplined and love what I do, I’m as likely to send an email at 1:00am as at 1:00pm. The scary part is how many people reply immediately. Any hour, day or night. There are 319 million people and 310 million personal computers in America. One apiece, not even counting smartphones. And we’re all connected. Nobody’s ever ‘off.’ Have we forgotten that our significance is not tied up in what we do, but in who we are? God loves to see us work. It’s not a curse, as some believe. But He also wants to see us love each other, live life, and enjoy our families. Jesus’ life purpose statement (John 10:10b) says, “I have come so that they might have life, and have it to the full.” Are you living life “to the full”? Or are you just ‘full’?
We have to learn to set boundaries for ourselves . . . to follow the wisdom of the serenity prayer . . . to accept the things we can’t change, have the courage to change the things we can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.
Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, tells his people to be like Shamgar, the Israelite who . . . “struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel” (Judges 3:31).
Dan goes on to explain. “Start from where you are, do what you can, use what you’ve got, and trust God for the outcome.”
Shamgar started where he was . . . there were 600 Philistines attacking the Israelites nearby.
He did what he could . . . killed them all.
Shamgar used what he had . . . no massive weapons, just an oxgoad, essentially a big stick.
And finally, he trusted God for the outcome . . . the Bible never says that “Shamgar saved the children of Israel” . . . it says he participated in what God did to save Israel!
When we follow this simple plan and trust God for outcomes . . . both good or bad . . . we can relax, rest, and refocus on who and what really matters.
Let’s recognize that God is trustworthy. We don’t have to work or worry all the time.
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