In Genesis 2:15, God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it. As humans we have several basic needs; dignity, authority, blessing and provision, security, purpose and meaning, freedom and boundary, intimate love and companionship. Many times when we go outside of God’s provision to meet these needs, we get into trouble.
All people have a need to work and gain satisfaction in caring and seeing something come from their efforts. Many of our basic needs come from the work that we are involved. After all, it was one of the first acts God did for humankind in the Garden of Eden. We were given responsibility to care and work in the Garden. God knew that we needed to be productive and satisfaction would come from our work.
There is a danger when we allow our work to be our complete source of purpose and meaning in life. It leads to a performance-based life. A performance based life says, “As long as I perform my work then I am acceptable to myself as well as others.”
This is a subtle trap for many of us. It leads to becoming a workaholic if we are seeking acceptance from the work that we do. Many times this is on a subconscious level. You might ask yourself this question. What gives me worth and what do I value most? Most likely, if you can answer where you spend the majority of your time, your money, and your gifts and talents, you will find the answer!
What happens when we find our value centered not in ourselves but in the One who is in the creation business? When our values are Christ centered instead of worked centered, we find that when we hit low times in our lives, such a job loss, financial troubles, and even relationship difficulties, we are not alone. We find that God is the one who has a plan for each one of us, including you and me, and orchestrates our lives according to a divine plan and for God’s purposes. Even difficult times have a purpose in our lives.
Is there a proper balance in your work life and spiritual life? If you find yourself working long hours, you might ask yourself why. It is always good to discover what the central focus is in your life. Do not let the work or business of today’s workplace sidetrack you from the importance of God’s agenda and plans for you. Ask God what your priorities should be for today and every day. Make God’s priorities your priorities!
Barbara Schnecker is the leading pastor at Faith Community United Methodist Church, 100 Country Club Road in Xenia and guest columnist.