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The Excessity of Work

How can working be considered a bad thing?

What’s wrong with working hard and trying to do your best?

I usually hear these questions when people come to realize they’ve spent the last weeks (or months, years, or decades) building their careers while at the same time destroying their relationships.

Work and the achievement it brings can definitely be put on a good list unless it takes away from other good things. When does doing something good turn into doing something bad? This is not always an easy line to determine. It is the line between working and being a workaholic. It is the line between doing something because it is good and doing something good because it feels good to you but really isn’t.

Jesus brought up this concept early in Matthew 6:5.

He’s talking about the Pharisees, the religiously pious of that day, who would go to the synagogues and street corners to pray. You’d think Jesus would applaud prayer, but that’s not the case here. In this case Jesus wasn’t so much interested in what they were doing, but why they were doing it. Were they praying? Yes, but their motivation was not to converse with God; it was to be seen by others. Good action but lousy reason.

There are all kinds of rewards for working hard. The problem comes when those rewards are considered more valuable than other positives in your life, like your health, your emotional well-being, and your relationships.

SOURCE: Chapter 2, “Examine Your Excess,” in Gotta Have It! by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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