In yesterday’s post on workaholism I mentioned five possible causes of this addiction:
- Idolatry: the worship of work
- Greed: pursuit of material rewards
- Escapism: avoidance of less pleasant responsibilities
- Identity: defining oneself by one’s work
- Unbelief: distrusting God’s provision
Another reason crossed my mind today: enjoyment. And I think that’s often what drives many workaholic pastors – our work is so enjoyable, It’s not that way all the time, of course, but often we can find so much satisfaction and happiness in what we do.
An easy problem
It’s hard to be a workaholic if we hate our work. But if we love it, if we bounce out of bed most mornings, if we can’t wait to get into the study and then into the pulpit to share what we have studied, if we enjoy being with the sheep God has blessed us with, if we see God’s Word converting sinners and edifying God’s people, then overwork is going to be a much more easy problem to fall into.
In fact, sometimes the ministry is so enjoyable that it hardly feels like work at all.
So that’s OK then. If you love your work, and it’s good work like the ministry, then it doesn’t matter how many hours a week you put into it, does it? Enjoyment makes everything just fine!
No, it doesn’t. God gives us many good things to enjoy in this life – friends, hobbies, sport, music, etc. – but we must exercise self-denial lest these good and legitimate things become too prominent and too important in our lives.
The same goes for our work, even for ministry work. At times self-denial will require us to clock off early and play football with the kids, or take a day off to help our wife paint the kitchen. It may not be so enjoyable as the books, but sometimes tidying the garage or washing the car is more pleasing to God than perfecting the next sermon.
If the main driver of our ministries is personal pleasure, to the detriment of our bodies, family relationships, and other responsibilities, are we that much different from the drug-addict?