Sofia felt that she could not take it anymore. Her husband Miguel came home again at midnight, having been at his start-up’s office space since 6:30 this morning. He was absolutely exhausted and was supposed to fly out in 7 hours on a fundraising trip. The kids rarely saw him when he had any energy and focus to give to them. Their marriage was in the dumpster. Miguel’s involvement in their church’s small group and worship services was hit and miss—and even when he was there—he wasn’t fully there.
Sofia didn’t know how to describe what had happened to Miguel and what he was doing to himself. Her friend Sadie told her that it sounded like he was worshipping his work. But Sofia knew what worship was. And whatever Miguel was doing, it sure didn’t look like worship to her. Was her husband worshiping work?
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;Psalm 150
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
Praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150 gives a vibrant picture of Christian worship. Christian worship focuses on God, who He is, what He has done, and how He should be praised. It declares His worth-ship in all things.
We say, of some, that they worship their work. But, if we take passages like Psalm 150 as a guide for what worship is, I would say that I’ve never seen anyone worship their work. Not like Psalm 150 describes worship.
I’ve seen some people spend endless hours at work out of fear and insecurity, trying to manipulate work to give them something they think they deeply need or want. Sometimes it’s for ego, sometimes for money, sometimes to substantiate themselves before certain others, and sometimes it is out of avoidance of responsibilities that they’re failing at in other parts of their lives. But, whatever they’re doing and whatever is driving it, it is anything but Psalm 150 worship.
The motivations may differ between workaholics, but all of their actions look like the worship of an idol. Idols are manmade creations viewed as capricious gods that we think we can manipulate to give us what we want or need. Idol worship will always result in frustration, diminishment of self, and erosion of faith in God. It damages our relationship with God and others and provokes God’s anger. Whereas the worship of God resets our perspective on ourselves, our contexts and others, the worship of idols slowly consumes us and dims our perspective on everything. The worship of God magnifies God. Worshipping idols magnifies our wants, needs, and fears.
All jobs have their “crunch times,” those times when you have to push hard for a season. And as Christians, we prepare for these times to ensure that we protect our worship of God and Christian fellowship while also remaining faithful in our commitments to communities, spouses, and kids. So no, working hard or working long hours doesn’t mean you are a workaholic.
We can surprisingly flourish in crunch times if we keep our priorities straight. Conversely, if we don’t keep priorities in order, the tendrils of the idolatry of work can slowly enmesh us. Our souls shrivel, and our perspectives fade as we shift from worshipping the Creator to worshipping the created. This spiritual “blindness” is a serious red flag when it comes to answering the question, “Am I a workaholic?”
We’ve learned that life and leadership eventually unravel you. And no one holds your hand and keeps that from happening. Church Reformer John Calvin described the human heart as a perpetual idol factory. And like life and leadership, idols unravel us as well. This will happen. Left to ourselves, we will do this. As we lose our daily cleansing and refocus that comes from worshipping God, we will build idols, and we will unravel.
Psalm 51 is a prayer of a recovering idolater. Though in other seasons, a godly and valiant man, David came into a period of worshipping the idol of comfort and pleasure. During this season, he took a good man’s wife, had sex with her that led to pregnancy, and had the husband killed in a foolish and awful attempt to cover up his sin. As a result, he lost clarity on who he was, who others around him were, and the nature of his context. Moreover, he lost the clarity that comes from worshipping God with a pure heart.
In Psalm 51, David comes to God to confess his sin and ask for restoration. In verses 14 and 15 he says:
This prayer is the hope for all of us idolaters. We believe that God will forgive us, restore our worship of Him, and tear down our worship of anything else. This is what Miguel needs. He needs to seek and find forgiveness. He needs to be restored through the worship of God. Miguel, like us, is no better or worse than David. We need to be forgiven, and through the worship of God, we need to be restored. We don’t need an idol, we need a Savior. And that from which we need to be saved is ourselves.
Perhaps you identify with Miguel. If so, consider joining a Faith Driven Foundation Group. The entrepreneur’s instinct is to “power through” and isolate themselves in the process. But personal growth happens best in community.
Faith Driven Entrepreneur is a movement of Christian business owners, founders, and leaders who are living out their God-given call to create as they transform the world around them. The ministry exists to equip the members of this movement with powerful content and life-changing community. The best way to journey with like-minded peers in a group. Find one that works for you by visiting https://www.faithdrivenentrepreneur.org/groups.
You can find Faith Driven Entrepreneur's original post here.