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.
Exodus 31:15—For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, dedicated to the LORD. Anyone who does work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.
In Hebrews 4:4 we read that after God spent six days creating the earth, He “rested from all His works.” God commanded the nation of Israel, through His servant Moses, to take a day off to rest each week. Failure to do so brought a death sentence. I suspect God required the life of a person for disrespecting life in the first place and for blatantly disobeying a command He instituted for their own welfare!
Harm is the inevitable outcome from continuous overworking. The cost of not knowing when to stop easily leads to irritability, poor decision-making, decreased time with those we love, inability to concentrate, poor health, depression, anger and accidents. While there will be times in life when we cannot escape deadlines or the need to bring a project to conclusion, to create time platforms devoid of rest is ultimately fatal.
Recently I challenged the leaders I serve to schedule one day in the next quarter to get away and rest and make time for reflection. Most army reservists have the challenge of balancing two careers and it is not easy! I am looking forward to hearing back from them. I will do the same thing I asked of them. As much as I can, I program one day a week to spend away from work. I need the time with God and to be alone to relax and recharge my batteries. I suspect it is the same with you. If a timeless, omnipotent God saw the need to rest what in the cosmos makes us think we can exert our energy with reckless abandon? Rest =’s rejuvenation, reclamation, recuperation, restoration, calming, quiet and joy—sound inviting? Let’s do nothing for God’s glory!
Wise leaders today are not looking for people who put in long hours. They want people with a balanced life; people with non-work related priorities that they have the same enthusiasm for as they have for their jobs.—Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku in Overcoming Buffaloes
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Jim Loerhr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement