Faith

Rethinking work-life balance: It’s about injecting life into your work

by Jolene Yee // June 29, 2017, 5:18 pm

Work Life

Work-life balance. That’s the dream, right?

We all want to find that balance, giving us enough time and energy for both work and everything else in our life. Not only do employees want it, employers do, too – the happy employee is more creative, relaxed, emotionally and mentally well. No one is a robot, definitely not one that simply works 24 hours a day.

Google believes in this strongly – they’ve gone so far as to experiment with having employees leave their electronic devices at work before they leave the office. Colgate-Palmolive has won plaudits for partnering with external organisations to build a supportive work environment and offer flexible work arrangements.

It’s almost like the holy grail – everyone strives to achieve work-life balance, hoping that life will be better when that is achieved.

But what if you really find that balance … only to find that life isn’t necessarily better? 

WORK ON YOUR CHARACTER

The key to working sustainably is to have a balance between work and character.

It’s very common for us to learn to serve before we truly know who God is, and experience Him for ourselves. This is dangerous for us – and those we think we’re ministering to.

The more you minister, the more you need the stability of the Word of God and the stability of your character being transformed through Christ. This is what will sustain you, and your ministry.

Apostle Paul did not make it to the end on the basis of his works; it was his spiritual courage that brought him that far.

Jesus was not fuelled by the miracles he performed – that was the output of His constant yielding towards God. His death on the Cross was the finished work; His love for the Father was what got Him there.

WORK OUT OF YOUR PURPOSE

The reason why Christians are despised is because they do not compromise on their values.

Most of us aren’t called into traditional full-time ministry. Most of us are called into jobs in the secular world. How often do we see our work as a service to God? How can God possibly use my mundane skills for His kingdom?

Bring light into darkness. Stand firm in your values. It’s not just about separating yourself from the world; it’s about constantly yielding yourself to do what is right before God – learning never to compromise on anything for God.

Set your mind, set your heart: Be unwilling to compromise. Sticking by Godly principles at work glorifies God. Know why you’re there, and let that guiding light determine your path.

Bring light into darkness. Stand firm in your values. It’s not just about separating yourself from the world; it’s about constantly yielding yourself to do what is right before God.

And if you get flak, opposition or even persecution from the world for doing so, take heart. You’re on the right side of good.

Walk in victory, knowing that where there is light, there cannot be darkness.

WORK HARD FOR GOD

Making God pre-eminent in your life means putting God first consistently in everything you do.

Consider Daniel, who worked for King Nebuchadnezzar – the very King who sieged Jerusalem – then Belshazzar, then Darius. Daniel had every reason to despise those whom he served. Nonetheless, he pursued excellence.

It’s what got him promoted all the way to the top. It’s how we’re called to work.

This helped buy him favour with the kings, who “found none equal” (Daniel 1:19). This helped him overcome the spells where he disobeyed when ordered to worship the king.

His disobedience only came at the line where he had to choose between serving God and king, but he always responded with honour and respect. Coupled with the miracles of interpreting dreams and escaping the lions’ den unharmed, the result was: Glory to God.

“Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings,” said Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:47). “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel,” said Darius (Daniel 6:26). 

WORK NOT FOR SELF-GLORY, BUT GOD’S GLORY

Promotion is a responsibility, not merely a reward.

Living in a country that runs on meritocracy, society views promotion as a marker of one’s calibre. It’s flattering.

But never forget that our appraisal by God matters more than our appraisal by Man.

Promotions are His way of entrusting more to us. Just as we serve the church well, there needs to be more effort put into upholding the same standards in the secular workplace.

When you receive a promotion, how do you respond? Do you see it as men affirming you – or affirming God’s work in you?

When you choose to honour God, He will honour you – thus enabling you to honour Him even more.

When Daniel was entrusted with more responsibilities and power over the entire empire, he didn’t let it get to his head. Instead, he rooted himself even deeper into the ways of the Lord. In Daniel 6:10, we learn: “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

When you receive a promotion, how do you respond? Do you see it as men affirming you – or affirming God’s work in you?

WORK AS SALT OF THE EARTH

Your mission is to add flavour to whatever realm you’re placed in.

Salt – chemically known as sodium chloride – is one of the most stable compounds around.

But interesting things happen when it comes into contact with water: Its antiseptic properties are released, which is why it stings when salt water is poured over a wound.

Similarly, we are meant to infiltrate the secular world with our single-mindedness towards Christ.

Our entire life must be lived in service unto Him. To worship Him in all aspects of our lives includes working hard in the secular world – that they may see Jesus working in us.


This article was adapted from a message delivered by Professor Freddy Boey at Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church in 2016.

About the author

Jolene Yee

Jolene is inquisitive about things big and small. She loves discovering new things and giving them a shot. Her greatest love: Stuffed animals.