“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, an imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”Harry Truman
Welcome to the fourth installation with the Righteous Way priorities, I’m walking through an alignment of priorities that the productively faithful should consider when gauging your efforts. Last week we covered the third of five priorities, The Vocation – your specific life’s purpose with your family or flock. All of this comes behind the highest priority with The Transcendent, your relationship with God.
We’re four parts in and now getting to our work. That isn’t to say that our other priorities don’t take work, they most certainly do. This work, our labor – becomes the means to fund everything else and a place to put our talent and skill to good use. It’s important to keep it in check from overtaking everything else.
Time for money. If you’re working full-time, you’re easily putting in forty hours or more. As a leader, you’re fifty+. Entrepreneur or ministry leader, sixty+. Some people are working two jobs just to get by, stacking hours. We put time in and someone pays us for the effort/product/service we put out. The more in demand your skill level or the more clever you can make yourself to someone, your rates will rise. It’s a fair market.
But all the time we give away towards this endeavor can cloud our priorities. It can easily become our unintended number one priority. We can move our relationship with God to the backseat or swat our spouses and kids aside because of the next thing that needs to be done after hours. We don’t take care of ourselves and watch our health disappear. I know this because I’ve been there.
For sure, there are sprints with work. We should work hard. When it’s time to focus, absolutely, put your mind where it needs to be. “There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God,” (Ecclesiastes 2:24). But none of it should be at the sacrifice of our other priorities. It’s good to hold ourselves accountable and check in with the outside perspective of our spouse or superior frequently.
Unless you’re blessed with the responsibility of living off of capital gains and don’t need to work to live, you’re like the rest of us who have to build our careers and generate income through time and talent. “You either work to live or live to work“, a common phrase that has some truth to it. I can’t say that one is right over the other, you’ll know the answer in your heart.
- Work to live – You don’t love it but it’s been good enough to stick with because it’s fueling your outside life. You’re happy to go in and do what you do well and when it’s time to go, you go – until you have to go back again. Where life takes place is outside of work. You gain your energy back with family and friends, the hobbies and travels you have in store, and the comforts and options your paycheck affords you.
- Live to work – You are on a mission and can’t wait to get back to it. The sweet spot of talent and interest is at equilibrium. Time feels like nothing then you’re here, what’s another ten hours? You wake up at night with the notepad next to the bed, scribbling the next idea. You’re great at what you do and you yearn for more of it.
Your outside relationships may work, but it could also be an escape from them.
Our work can do immense good no matter our approach but it can also do immense harm if we let it. If we’re not living to our potential and feel stuck, that can also break us down. It’s good to be real with ourselves, take our labor to prayer, and pursue excellence.
Take to prayer…”Lord, am I where You want me?”, “Do I have my work balanced well with my other priorities?”, “Am I utilizing the talents you’ve given me, or have I buried them?”, “What if You’re asking me to do a new and greater work?”, “How can I give back because of what You’ve given me?”, “Thank You for what has been given to me.”
The last of the Righteous Way priorities is our Leisure…
Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.