I read an article recently by a well-known social psychologist, Ron Friedman, titled “Work-Life Balance is Dead.” (You can find the article by doing a quick internet search). He began the article with these words: “Once upon a time, work took place outside of the home during designated hours. Today, that world is a fairy tale.”
This probably grabs your attention as much as it grabbed mine. Who in this world, more than Christians, deeply desire the balance between home and work, so they live an effective and fulfilling life for Christ? When we live for Christ, our love for the fellowship is so wide and long and high and deep (after all, it is the body of Christ himself) we strive to break free from work and attend to His church. And what greater joy is there to be close to family, spending time with those you love and cherish?
These are the important life aspects, aren’t they – time with friends and family and fellows Christians?
When I think of life in the first century, after Jesus fulfilled his mission on earth, it’s hard to imagine there was much “life” outside of “work.” Tending the land, planting crops, gathering stones to build, raising cattle, going to the market, trekking for water, trimming the lamps – these were all real-life responsibilities in a time before modern technology. In the Old Testament, we even see reference to a six-day work week and a sun-up to sun-down work day. Life may have been slower then, yet the burden of survival was much greater.
I believe the idea of a separate work-life and home-life is mostly a modern-day notion. In a world of convenience, we have figured out a way to detach wage hours from personal hours.
What if we changed the way we look at this equation?
What if we viewed our work-life as a way to bring glory to God?
What if we shared our faith at work, faithfully?
What if we spent time with the lost like Jesus did, tending to their needs, serving them?
What if we saw “long hours” as a way to get to know our fellow employees better?
Entrepreneurs in general, and Christian entrepreneurs specifically, view the work-day in a much different light than a corporate professional. There isn’t such a thing as work-life and home-life when running a successful business. It requires the same attention as a parent caring for a newborn. Yet it is a burden of love we wouldn’t replace. Many Christian-owned businesses make it their mission to hire as many other Christians as possible, using their earnings to help grow the church. Others use their branding and advertising to fearlessly proclaim Christ.
This is a wonderful example for Christians who work in the corporate world. Why not view our career as the way we make our impact for the church and for Christ?
How would the corporate work-day be different if we knew there were three or four fellow Christians at work? Would we meet with them for lunch? Would we read the Bible together? Would we meet early in the morning for prayer? Would we team-up and share your faith with those who didn’t know Jesus? Would we drop by and check in on each other to mutually encourage each other?
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
This tells us we have been given a spirit of power within us. It expresses itself through love. It continues through self-discipline.
So, to answer the question “Are career-minded Christians free to have a personal life?” the answer is, we strike the balance in work and life by seeing them as one. Like our first-century counterparts, we rely on God for our survival and live our life on a powerful mission, whether we are unemployed or employed.
If you are a Christian and you are reading this article, you were given a great commission by Jesus – to seek and save the lost by going and making and baptizing and teaching and remembering. And since we all work more hours than any other activity, yes, even sleep, what a great way to embrace the workday knowing we are there for a greater reason than just a paycheck.
Your career is not just a way to make a living, it’s a way to transform the world.™