By Drew Crandall
Of all people groups, Christians should have the best work attitude and work ethic, because from a Biblical worldview, work is necessary and we’re to work “as unto the Lord and not unto men.”
However, in our fallen, sinful state, we are all prone to, and vulnerable to, addictions of one kind or another. The list is endless; pick your poison! This list can includes work when it is taken to an extreme and becomes workaholism.
A workaholic is someone with a compulsive, relentless need to work; a reluctance to disengage from work; and a tendency to work, think or talk about work anytime, anywhere. A workaholic is also someone who places his or her work firmly in the center of life and feels the urge to create and respond to self-imposed demands. Unlike some other types of addiction, workaholism is not physical. It is mental, emotional and spiritual.
So, how do you draw the line? Here are some Godly tips:
-How is your personal relationship with the Lord (Mark 12:30)? Do you have daily devotions? A vibrant prayer life? Regular Scripture reading and meditation? Are you abiding in the Holy Spirit bearing His fruit? How is your Sabbath-keeping?
-How is your personal relationship with your spouse and family (Luke 10:27)? If you don’t have a spouse, do you have time for dating? Is your marriage heading toward oneness or isolation? How’s your communication? How’s your sex life? How’s your family activity time? Do you know your kids or grand-kids? Parents? Extended family?
-How is your personal relationship with your church (Hebrews 10:25)? How is your worship service, small group and church event participation? How is your service to the local church? How is your giving to the church? Are you connected or disconnected with the church?
-How’s your lifestyle (Matthew 6:2, 6:24)? Are you living within your means? Are you deep in debt? Are you allowing material things to consume you? Are you sleeping well? Are you still playful, or are you irritable and stressed? Are you taking care of yourself physically? Do you regularly take work home? Are you frequently late to non-work events? If people who really know you were asked (Proverbs 27:6): Are you known for your balance and moderation? Reasonableness? Or, are you totally out of whack?
Based on these criteria, if the Holy Spirit is revealing that you are crossing the line into workaholism. Begin to change. Confess your sin (idolatry) to the Lord. Commit to being more sensitive to and obedient to the Holy Spirit. Look at your calendar and deliberately schedule more time for the Lord, spouse, family and church. Begin to make incremental changes to make you less dependent upon a workaholic pace. What trophies are you working for, temporal or eternal? Change your travel patterns so you’re in church. Don’t be compulsive in your change, or you’ll exchange one addiction for another!
Drew Crandall calls himself a “recovering workaholic.” He owns a marketing and media business near Hartford, Connecticut and speaks across the region on workplace-related issues. He may be reached at 800-JOY-9075 or dcrandall@ChristAtWork.org.