The Myth of Work-Life Balance

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

You can’t open Twitter or Instagram without seeing someone talking about “work-life balance.” It seems like all of us are searching for this elusive ideal.


There are two things that have long bothered me about our collective striving for work-life balance. First, I think the term is steeped in an unbiblical view of work, which says that work is a necessary evil in order to enjoy the truly meaningful things in life. By its very nature, the term treats “work” and “life” as separate—as if work isn’t a critical part of our lives. You and I know that this is not at all what the Bible teaches. The Hebrew word avodah is translated into our Bibles to mean “work,” and “worship,” and “service.” The writers of Scripture didn’t see work and life as something to be separated by a hyphen. They viewed work as something to be seamlessly integrated and connected to our whole lives.


Here’s the second reason why I cringe at the idea of “work-life balance.” Maybe it’s just semantics, but I think “balance” is the wrong aim for our lives. Dictionary.com defines balance as “a state of equilibrium” and an “equal distribution of weight [or] amount.” I don’t see any biblical evidence to support the idea that we are to have an “equal distribution of weight” placed on work, family, worship, friendships, and the other things that make up our lives. What I do see Scripture commanding us to do is to “do [everything] for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). In the words of the late, great pastor Dr. D. James Kennedy, we Christians are called to pursue “excellence in all things and all things to God’s glory.”


So, rather than asking how we can achieve work-life balance, I’d like to propose a different, and I believe more biblical question: How can we achieve whole-life excellence, doing everything we’ve committed ourselves to for the glory of God?


Over the next three days, we’ll look to Scripture to seek to answer that question.