Summary: Single message written for Labor Day weekend that gives a Biblical perspective to balancing our time.
BALANCING OUR WORK, LEISURE AND FAITH
Have you noticed how many times the key to contented living is to walk the middle ground between extremes? For example: In Parenting: we are trying to walk the balance between being too strict or too permissive. In Finances: We are working at avoiding the extreme of hoarding on one hand and indulgence on the other. In our Personal lives: We’ve got to find the balance between ambition and contentment. We need to always strive to do better but we also need to be content with what we have. Even in being a Pastor: I have to being careful to maintain a balance between tolerance and truth. I have to be tolerant of other’s mistakes but at the same time I must stand firmly for what is best for God’s church and in the truth of God’s Word. The key to so many areas in life is to maintain a proper balance. Well, maybe no where is this equilibrium more difficult than in the balancing of our time.. between how much we work, how much time we spend with family or in leisure and how much of our activity is spent on the pursuit or the commitment to our faith .
The 4th Commandment reads: “Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day. .."(GW) Obviously, to God there is to be a balance between work and our worship of Him. But as you read Scripture you also see that we are to spend time with our family, take care of our bodies, rest... to keep the proper tension between work and the rest of life is a very complex problem. How can a modern worker, give the proper amount of attention to a career and at the same time not neglect family, the church and personal time? Very difficult.
It is interesting that Time magazine in 1971 noted that labor experts were predicting that by the new millennia we would be on a national 4 day work week and have an abundance of leisure time. Those projections have not come true, in fact exactly the opposite has happened. According to a Lewis-Harris poll the length of the average work week has increased 20% since the mid `70’s and that trend they say will likely continue through to the next decade. And many people are asking, "What good does it do to have a larger salary, if I don’t have any time to enjoy it?" The Lewis-Harris poll showed that 71% of those families earning $40,000 or more annually would give up a days pay each week for an extra day of free time. "Leisure time, not money, is becoming the status symbol of the new century," says John Robinson, who directs the "American’s use of Time" project at the U. of Maryland. "A large segment of Americans," he says, "feel a critical time crunch." A growing number of professionals are balking at schedules that don’t match their value and are beginning to understand that the emphasis that they have placed on career success and accumulating money have not really made them happy.
Well, I believe if we are going to maintain a proper balance we need to examine what the Creator of time has to say about this. So, this Labor Day weekend let’s look at God’s plan through the Bible and see if we can avoid the extremes and employ a balance to our lives.
I. IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM: AVOID THE EXTREMES
First, let’s identify the problem.. and see the extremes we need to avoid.
(1) The extreme of laziness. Three boys were boasting about their dads and one boy said, "My dad is so fast, he can shoot an arrow and get to the target before the arrow hits it." The second boy said, "My dad is so fast that he can shoot a rifle at a deer and get to the animal before it falls." The third boy said, "My Dad’s got both of yours beat, he’s faster than that. He gets off work everyday at 4:00 and he gets home by 3:30." Do you think that, in general, the American labor force is suffering from lazy employees? Consumer Report magazine does. They suggest that if you are contemplating buying a new car that you ask the dealer to find out what day the car you were looking at was built on. If it was made on Monday the article suggested you not buy it because Monday is the day when the greatest number of assembly line workers call in sick and so the car is built by less employees doing several line jobs. Ecc. 10:18 - "If someone is lazy, the roof will begin to fall. If his idleness continues, the house will leak.."(NCV) In other words, laziness produces a poor product. And now we have folks that think it’s their God-given right to be lazy.