Read Ecclesiastes 5
Focus on verse 12
My parents taught me that work comes before play. This is not a bad work ethic as it keeps one from frittering away the hours when there is work to be done. Like anything, however, it can also be taken to an extreme to where one does nothing but work because there is always more work to be done. It becomes problematic in occupations where there are not clear lines between what is considered work and what is not. Many occupations are like this. It seems particularly hazardous to those who have much invested in the work they do.
This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with working hard. In today’s reading in Solomon observes, “Sweet is the sleep of the laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” In my own experience I would have to concur…not that I have ever found myself to be so rich as to not have to work in some way or other… simply from the experience of having done hard physical labor as I was growing up on the farm. I seem to recall experiencing this “sweet sleep” that Solomon refers to more often in those days, than I do now that my life tends to be a little more sedentary.
It would seem that the way humans are designed, most of us tend to fair better when we get at chance to work up a sweat occasionally. It doesn’t feel all that great when the muscles start to burn and the heart an lungs are running at full throttle, but when it is done regularly and with care not to over do it, it has been my experience that I always feel better when I have sufficient physical activity going on. In fact, I think I might go so far as to suggest that I prefer the feeling of being tired from working, to that of feeling sluggish and unmotivated from doing nothing, though it has also been some time since I have really done nothing long enough to feel that way.
When it comes to balancing work and relaxation, it is like every other area of our lives. When we have a good balance of both going on things tend to go pretty well for us. When we get too far off of that balance in either direction, it typically is not long before we begin to experience problems. Too much stress is dangerous to our health, but no more dangerous that not enough stress. Blessed is the person who can spend most of their days in that sweet spot in the middle with just enough of each to keep life in balance.