The idolatry of work......

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Dear Friends:

Sometimes I watch the leisure with which some people lead their lives and wonder if they have somehow found a way to put on ice a second life that they are holding in reserve!   I do get a bit annoyed when I see people casually take what seems an eternity to complete a simple task—- as if they have nothing else to do for the rest of the day.

My closer friends know that I am bit OCD and a workaholic—-and that’s not something in which I take pride. I create a daily agenda with over 100 items on it that must be performed or prayed over each day.  My agenda is broken into three minute blocks so that I can keep on task. Again, this is not a matter of braggadocio for me, but rather a matter of necessity!  If I don’t do many of these things each day, they won’t get done and others will suffer.  I have many that depend upon me.

That being the case, why was Jesus never in a hurry and never stressed about all He had on His shoulders?  Good grief, He had the salvation of all humanity on His agenda as well as the demands of those who pressed Him daily for His teachings, healings, interventions, debates, etc.  The man was never at a loss for time to pray to His Father, minister to His inner circle, take long walks from city to city and so forth.  His life almost appears “leisurely” if you read the gospels.  And yet, in three years He turned the world upside down.

Yes, He was the Son of God—-a part of the Triune God—so He had a better perspective on life than anyone that’s ever lived, but still: Just three years to complete and establish all He did?  It seems that it’s not a matter of how many tasks we complete, but instead it’s the fewer tasks that God is able to amplify because of our devotion to Him.  It’s not the length and wordiness of my prayers, but the sincerity and simplicity of my talks with Him.  It’s not my “busyness” that causes Him to smile upon my enterprises and plans, but my decision to be about His “business” to the neglect, if needed, of my own agenda.

I cannot waste time, squander my resources, make no plans for the day/week/year and expect God to do for me what I should have done with my own arms and hands.  I understand that. After all, Noah built the ark, he didn’t pray for God to build it. Paul travelled  all over Asia Minor to share the gospel, he did not just write epistles.  But it’s also possible to plan for a full day of “tasks” and not lose my cool when God intervenes with surprise visits, cancelled school days, and opportunities to bear spiritual fruit. 

My challenge is to not take my work ethic, planning and personal goals so seriously that they become idols.  And all work, especially Christian work, can become the “good” that usurps the “best”.  God forbid that I ever worship the false gods of “accomplishments” and “success”!  My call is to be faithful and alert to one and only true God—-not to a planner.




Dean Barley

The Vineyard

336 351 2070

919 368 8493 (Mobile)

The Vineyard


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