In 1969 the Japanese reported their first case of karoshi—death from overwork. More recently about 10,000 Japanese die annually for reasons attributed to karoshi. If that is a frightening statistic for an island of high achievers, one can only wonder how many die for the same reasons in the United States where even longer work hours are kept! King Solomon once wrote, “Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind (Ecclesiastes 7:22). I wonder how many people die each year hating what they do or full of anxiety because work has not brought them the pleasure and meaning in life they so desperately sought.
I met Russ in the Joint Reserves Officer Course we are both taking. We went to church on Sunday and had lunch together—both missing our families on Father’s Day. Russ is a Captain in the Navy and a Delta pilot. He and I found we shared many things in common. Our time fellowshipping was quite enjoyable.
As I was leaving my office not long ago, an amusing sight caught my eyes. Three workers and one supervisor were laboring over a small rhododendron carefully trimming its leaves. Every Thursday, this crew handles the landscaping chores for our chapel, office and surrounding grounds. But while it was funny to see so many adults working on one bush, it was also sad. Kim, one of our counselors, recently shared how much the farmers are impacted this year by the lack of migrant workers to pick their fields. A bumper crop of strawberries is poorly harvested because there are not enough laborers. When I asked Kim why this situation exists she explained that many migrant workers no longer pick fruit because they are able to find jobs that are much easier (i.e. fast-food establishments) with better pay. In addition, fewer workers came north this year because the government is more stringent in blocking illegal entries.
Would you like to know the secret for living a successful life? The key is found in understanding and obeying the Bible’s Greatest Commandment given by God to Moses in Deuteronomy 6:5--“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Over 22 times in the Bible we are directly encouraged to love God. Loving God requires a wholehearted commitment in a half-hearted world. Aside from the obvious fact that God desires our love, I believe there are at least four excellent reasons why we should love Him.
Kathleen and I ascended as the elevator began to shake noisily. The two women beside us discussed when the old box was going to fall, evidently used to its rattle. But as we walked into the office there on the eighth floor we noticed the building swaying. It was an eerie feeling. Less than 150 miles away, Olympia and Seattle were riding a major earthquake. Yet we were safe. The receptionist informed us that the building was constructed to bend a foot or more during quakes so as not to collapse. Thank God for good engineering.