Why we should place a premium on the quality, not the quantity, of our work
Story originally published in RELOCATE Magazine. Check it out here.
You work too much.
I was working more than 50 hours a week, without overtime pay, at a job that barely paid for my overpriced housing in a city I loved but couldn’t afford.
But it was a worthwhile, purposeful job that significantly improved the community and the quality of life of the people around me — all reasons I believe justified my prioritization of work over rest.
I found myself struggling with the theology of Colossians 3:23–24:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
I even put a sticky note on my computer :
This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.
No matter who told me to “stick it to the man,” and go in late, that’s not how you get ahead, right? You get ahead by putting in the time, going above and beyond, proving yourself to people who don’t know how hard you worked in college, or how much you owe in loans, or how badly you want to stay afloat to prove it to yourself — your family — your friends — your peers — your spouse.
I soon found myself asking if “working for the Lord,” meant I needed to stay late every night at the office because “it is the Lord Christ” I’m serving. I didn’t “deserve” anything — that’s one of the fundamentals of Christianity — recognizing you can’t and won’t ever do anything that makes you worthy.
My oversight was not in my own deservedness but in God’s priority of my soul.
I was deceived into thinking hard work equated to success in the eyes of God, and if I was honest with myself, I thought hard work determined my value as a person. I misconstrued the Scripture by prioritizing my job “because I should.”
I quit that job.
It is indeed possible to overvalue “human masters” in an attempt to please the Lord.
Because my work was worthy, I allowed my “job” and my “life” to be one in the same. But how can you maintain a work-life balance when you’re just trying to stay afloat financially?
You maintain a work-life balance by maintaining a God-self balance.
I realized, once I settled into a new job, just how much more I valued Jesus when I had time to reflect on his goodness.
Does working hard please the Lord? Absolutely.
The trouble is when you start believing the quantity of your work exponentially increases the glory God receives in exchange.
Whether you’re working two hours or two hundred hours, your quality of work is what’s important.
Consistently feeding your relationship with Jesus cannot be done when you wake up and go to sleep for the purpose of work.
You and I are built for relationships, not business meetings.