“Overwork makes for restless sleep. Overtalk shows you up as a fool.” (Ecclesiastes 5:3, MSG)
Leave it up to us to turn a vice into something praiseworthy. Deep inside our broken and dysfunctional hearts, we carry a secret pride—although we never would admit it—in our overwork. In our hidden places, we think of it as something noble and heroic. In fact, we tend to wear it like a merit badge.
Yet, truth be told, overwork always comes down to two things—fear and insecurity. Either we don’t think God can do it without us (whatever it may be), or we’re terrified that he will. And I’m not really sure which is worse.
Our tendency to overwork is an addiction of the highest degree. It comes from a desperate need to prove to ourselves and our world—and even our God—that we are worth loving. It comes from an attempt to make our name great, rather making His name great. It comes from our propensity to try and make ourselves bigger, rather than smaller. And, in the process, it robs us of life and health, joy and peace. It leaves us so worn down and burnt out that we have nothing of substance to offer those to whom God has entrusted to our care.
Maybe it’s time to “work smarter, not harder.” Maybe it’s time to really trust God the way we say we do. Maybe it’s time to allow him to direct our steps and order our days. Maybe it’s time that our lives became about his kingdom and his glory, rather than our own. And it all starts with coming first to him.