Mondays have become the universal symbol representing dislike for work. Transitioning from a traditional weekend of rest, recreation and worship to focused endeavor can be challenging. “It feels like a Monday” is a common response to the question, “How are you today?” regardless of the weekday on which the question is posed. While some dread work, many are absorbed in it. Some are so deeply invested in their work that they have no identity outside of their occupation. Others are driven by obligation. The admirable obligation to provide for family grows until it becomes an obligation to sustain a lifestyle instead of simply sustaining life. The illusive pursuit of work and life balance leaves most of us frustrated and feeling unfulfilled. Empty nesters and retirees encounter the same challenges.
Saints at Thessalonica struggled to balance faith and life. Believing the second coming of Christ was imminent, some decided to leave their occupation and obligations to wait for Jesus. “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed, you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 NKJV) Satan soon put the idle to work in his employ. “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 NKJV)
God does promise to provide. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:30-34 NKJV) God’s provision does not come by idleness or by dishonesty, but through labor. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” (Ephesians 4:28 NKJV)
The obligation to provide extends beyond immediate family. The poor, the orphaned and widowed fall within our responsibility. (Ephesians 4:28, James 1:27) “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27 NKJV) “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV) “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.” (1 Timothy 5:16 NKJV)
Those who follow God’s rules of life balance will put the kingdom of God first, fulfill their obligation to maintain loving family relationships and will work diligently to provide the needs of their family and fellow man.