When have you worked hard enough?

“If you are willing to do more than you do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.” – Unknown 

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” – Mary Lou Retton

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23 

Our culture has really messed up the term “hard work.” Does it mean to work incessantly, without much room left for relaxation? Does it require long days and less sleep? How hard do we really have to work to qualify as a hard worker?

These are the questions that hit me this year more than ever, at my first real full time job. There are not as many interruptions between work time and play time – no summer breaks or mid-term extended weekends after the completion of school tests and projects. There are also not as many measurements of success – no A’s vs. F’s. Plus there are so many more hard workers to compare myself to. If I work 9-5 it doesn’t feel like enough because others are working 8-6. Moreover, this goes beyond the workday: if I choose a frivolous TV show over a documentary, there’s a sense of guilt. If I skip a workout and opt for the couch, I feel lazy. I’ve lost much of my ability to calculate the worth of my work and when it’s enough.

As with most things, the bible offers some insight. It’s not a matter of time, form, or quantity. It’s (as per usual) a matter of heart. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…” It’s not for the money or the pay off. It’s for the Lord. As long as we work with what should be our true focus in mind (HIM!), we will be satisfied. We won’t look to other factors to know if we did enough. We will know we did in the eyes of the One who matters.

Easier said than done. To start, let’s pray instead of panic. At the start of the day, pray that you are working with the right intentions at heart. Throughout the day, ask that you keep this as your focus and look to Him rather than worldly factors when measuring your success. At the end of the day, pray for peace of mind, knowing you did enough and He will rejuvenate you so you can do it again the next day.

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