Has Your Work Become Your Idol?

C4NPMK Portrait of a stressed businessman with his forehead resting on the computer keyboard


True rest brings us into a right relationship with God and with others. When we experience this kind of rest, we feel revitalized, more alert, more creative and more human. Our capacity to love others, as well as our desire to be in relationship, increases. A deficiency of rest can compromise the quality and meaning of our work and negatively impact our health, family and personal lives.

Difficulty entering into rest might indicate that we’ve made an idol of our work. As fallen and broken human beings, we might devote ourselves to work in the vain hope that it alone will bring us meaning, purpose, security or happiness. Our work can become driven by a desire for perfection, worth, admiration or status. Perhaps some of us define success by comparing ourselves to others and working to have more than they do. Still others of us may use work to avoid dealing with other areas of life. We sacrifice our health, our families and our discipleship on the altar of excessive work.

The idol of work might fool us for a time, until we are passed over for promotion, fired, laid off or retired. Then we discover that work comes to an end, and meanwhile, we have become strangers to our family and friends. Fulfillment doesn’t come from frenzied work. It comes from rest and repentance. And strength comes from quietness and trust, trust that who we are in Christ is enough.


Jesus, if I’ve made work into an idol or even an addiction, I repent and ask you to heal my wayward heart. Help me to take the steps I need to enter into true rest. Amen.


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