The Work-a-holic

Church Planting, Other Authors, Rambling Thoughts

The Work-a-holic by Os Hillman (sent to me by my friend Dr. Duke Heller (

Living a balanced life is evidence of a Spirit-led life. People work long hours for many reasons which can lead to significant problems in our lives.

One reason people over work is that they often think they must work longer hours to keep up with their workload. This is often the surface reason people give to the question of working long hours. Like any compulsive behavior, there is usually something beneath this behavior. As a former workaholic myself, I can tell you the root of overworking is often 1) a fear of loss, and 2) a need for self-acceptance created by performance.

The fear of loss issue can be a fear of what will happen if we don’t work long hours. A fear that there may not be enough money if I don’t work long hours can drive us to overwork. Often an inaccurate view of what is enough makes us drive ourselves to greater levels of achievement, believing a financial reward will insure us against potential financial disaster. This usually operates at a subconscious level. When one operates at this level you often find those around them will feel shamed if they do not work at the same level and can be intimidated by the unspoken or spoken directive that long hours are required. This leads to a whole new set of problems.

The second reason people work long hours is their need to gain self-acceptance and esteem from their jobs. It is rewarding to see something come from our efforts. However, when we begin to be driven to work, it becomes an unhealthy condition. We are looking to gain self-esteem needs from our performance instead of being secure in our position in Christ.

So, in order to avoid work becoming an idol and a compulsive behavior, we must maintain a balance that provides time to spend quality time with the Lord, our families and fellow believers. Sometimes the greatest exercise of faith is to work only forty hours a week. This insures that the outcome of our work is dependent upon God, nor our self-effort.

Kurt’s comment:
Obviously, there is no excuse for being a slackard. One must invest the minimum amount of time required by one’s employer; or to accomplish the project at the prescribed time or level of performance expected by the company or church who has hired you. However, the strive for success can often take over common sense to the neglect of one’s family and relationship with the Lord. Do not become a slave to your work. Rather, do your work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who has set you free!

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship” (Romans 8:15).