God’s Message for the Anxious Workaholic
I can easily become an anxious person. Too I often worry that my work will not be good enough. Or that something will go wrong. When I start to worry, remembering the words of Psalm 127 helps me and calms me down. Reminds me to relax and trust in my heavenly Father. I’m hoping that maybe this psalm can help you too.
Psalm 127 is a short little Psalm – only five verses. But this Psalm reminds us that the key to success is not by our anxious frantic efforts but by abiding in Him. That without God, we can do nothing.
Let’s read Psalm 127 here:
- Unless the Lord builds the house (marriage, family) they who build it work in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
- It is vain for you to rise up early and stay up late. Eating the bread of anxious labor. For God gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
- Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. And the fruit of the womb is a reward.
- Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
- Blessed is the person who has her or his quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
This Psalm tells us that without God’s help, our endeavors are in vain. When we build our house (marriage, family) we need to consult the divine Architect. (verse 1a) We need to pray and ask God for His blessing for our house (marriage, family) and our country. If the citizens and leaders of a country make laws that break God’s laws and if they forget to seek God’s will and blessing, their country will eventually fail. Psalm 127 says: “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (verse 1b)
Workaholics beware. Psalm 127 says that our work is in vain independent of God’s calling and direction. (verse 2a) We don’t have to do it all by ourselves, but God “gives gifts to His beloved even in her or his sleep.” (verse 2b) Let’s not miss out on the truth that we don’t have to do it all that God blesses us even at the most unlikely times.
And Psalm 127 ends by telling us that our children are a gift from the Lord, designed to fill a purpose with joy. Jesus said: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
We sometimes think that the harder we work; the richer we become. But without God, all our money and earthly riches will not satisfy us. Yet this Psalm shows that God’s gifts are given by our resting in His grace and doing our reasonable share of work. The fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8) of the Ten Commandments commands God’s people to rest from their work on the sabbath day or the seventh day. Do we take seriously God’s command to rest from our work – and to rest and trust in Him?
Yes, Scripture says that God gives us work to do. There are many passages in Scripture that speak against sloth or being lazy and not doing our share of work. But then we are told not to “Rise up early and stay up late and eat the bread of anxious labor.” (Psalm 127:2) God has placed limits on our work so there is room for rest, reflection and worship. We can find this moderation when we stop trying to run our own lives and trust God each day to guide and help us.
What does it look like to abide in Jesus instead? A passage about us abiding in Christ is found in John 15:1-8. Jesus is speaking these words: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you bear fruit, unless you abide in Me. I am the “Vine”, and you are the “branches”. If you abide In Me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) This New Testament passage is saying the same thing that Psalm 127, our Old Testament passage said. That without God being involved in our work and our lives, all that we do will amount to nothing.
Our secular society tells us that we should run our own lives. Be self-made men and women. Rugged individualists. But our secular world has it all backwards. God speaks to us in Scripture and tells us that “We are not our own, we are bought with a price” (the price is the blood of Jesus) (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) We are to live our lives for Him and His glory and not just for ourselves if we want His blessings and His abundant life. Let’s come to Jesus. Repent of the spirit of independence in our lives and give our lives to God. Stop trying to run things on our own and ask Him for His guidance and blessing. Do this every day! Live the good life.