Today someone will face a crushing disappointment at work. Maybe it will be you. Perhaps you have experienced one of these blows in the past:
- Your company gave the promotion you have been working toward for years to someone else
- Your manager submitted a poor review on your annual performance evaluation
- A coworker stole credit that you deserved and got rewarded for your hard work
- Your boss told you that your services were no longer needed, even though you gave yourself to the firm for years.
Today someone else is becoming more and more addicted to their career. Maybe it’s you.
The power, position, and achievements of work are becoming the drugs that get you through the day. Your job is what makes you feel alive, so you invest more and stay longer, but as you do, important things in your life are beginning to suffer.
No longer is your relationship with your family what brings you joy. No longer is your intimacy with the Lord the central motivation of your life. Instead, work has risen in value until it has become the thing that defines you, and it now functions in your heart in a way that only God should.
Has work stealthily become a life-giver, essentially becoming your functional messiah without you even realizing it?
Now don’t misunderstand: of course, it is right to be disappointed when you have been betrayed, unjustly treated, or let go suddenly and require finances to provide for your family. The Bible speaks to each of these experiences.
Likewise, work should be fulfilling and motivating. It is a fundamental aspect of God’s creative design for humanity.
Your work is your calling, but it is not your life. Work gives you dignity, but it is not your hope. You are created to work with diligence, but work is not the ultimate reward.
Your work is not the final word on who you are, and it surely should not define what your life is all about.
Paralyzing disappointment and consuming addiction are the results of an improper work balance. Imbalance happens when we look to our work for that deep and abiding peace and rest that every human being seeks.
Scripture reminds us of the impermanence of this physical world, warning us that these temporary things have no capacity to satisfy the deep longings of our hearts.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” - Luke 21:33
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” - Matthew 6:19-20
In a world that idolizes power, position, fame, and material wealth, we continually need to clarify and reorient our sense of what is important. The things of this earth are meant to point to Jesus, not become the things that replace Jesus.
Jesus warned, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions … the one who lays up treasure for himself is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15, 21)
May God rescue us from ourselves and our tendency to assign value to things that are not nearly as valuable as we have made them out to be.
Paul David Tripp
1. If you are retired, unable to work, a stay-at-home parent, or a student, replace work with ____ [fill in the blank]. What have you assigned too much value to so it has the power to crush you with disappointment or consume you with addiction?
2. How have you experienced the effects of sin in the workplace? How have you suffered or been treated unjustly? What was your response, and what did it reveal about what rules your heart?
3. In what ways might you be addicted to your work? What does your work promise to offer that seems so enticing? Can your work genuinely deliver what it promises?
4. Do you grumble too much at work? Do you believe that work is a curse or a punishment? How have you been uniquely gifted for work, and how can you make the most of your commissioning?
5. How can you incarnate the love of Christ in your workplace? Have you neglected to view your office as a mission field? Who can you witness to this week?