Ministry Resources

Commandments for a Workaholic

Author: Howard and Nancy Stevens

In our fast-paced world of downsizing and multitasking, people often expect us to work longer hours with fewer breaks and diversions.

Even in church, we may feel subtle pressures to take on additional responsibilities for which God has not called us and equipped us. Such pressures may cause us to exceed the healthy limits God has planned for us. We may even erroneously believe that by working harder and staying increasingly busy, we are pleasing the Lord to a greater degree. Some of us, by nature, have a tendency to overwork.

About Work

Perhaps it would be helpful to consider the following commandments.

1. I will not work longer hours than I am physically and mentally able to do unless the Lord specifically directs me to do so. God is familiar with all my ways, and He knows my capabilities (Psalm 139:2–3). Working harder will not make Him love me more; He loved me before I even knew He existed.

2. I will not routinely work through lunch or spend the weekend and vacations working. Doing so will lead to exhaustion and burnout. Even God rested on the seventh day after Creation, and He instructed His people to work only six days a week (Genesis 2:2–3; Exodus 20:8).

3. I will not over-commit myself. Volunteering for too many projects at church or in my community will leave me feeling fragmented, making me less effective and disappointing others. Living within healthy boundaries is essential.

4. I will not take on extra work for the sake of keeping busy. Being busy will not make me more valuable to God. Filling every moment with activities will rob me of time spent in God’s presence. Some moments of meditation and solitude are needed to hear God’s voice.

5. I will not carry the entire workload by myself. Instead, I will delegate some responsibilities, allowing others the opportunity to grow and succeed. Even Moses took his father-in-law’s advice to heart and learned to delegate (Exodus 18:17–24).

6. I will not expect to be perfect. Perfectionism will not make me more spiritual; instead, it will lead to disappointment, discouragement, and low self-esteem. Rather than rehearsing my mistakes and imperfections, I will commit my ways to the Lord and let Him measure my progress.

7. I will not compare myself with others (Galatians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 10:12). God gives each person the gifts and talents He has planned.

8. I will not spend the evening worrying about what I wasn’t able to accomplish that day and thinking about deadlines and all the work I will have to face the next day. Worrying about work will lead to insomnia, leaving me exhausted and less ready to face the next day’s challenges. Solomon said, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat–for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2, NIV). I will cast my burdens on the Lord. Psalm 68:19 reminds us that God “daily bears our burdens.”

9. I will not forget to laugh. Laughing decreases anxiety and contributes to my physical and emotional well-being. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).

10. I will not neglect my relationships and the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional areas of my life. God loves me for me, not for what I can do for Him. Those who truly value me will want what is best for me.

11. I will not set impossible goals. When I have done my best, I will accept it and be content, knowing that I am “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6, NKJV).

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