Groundwork (pt. 3)

By the time I arrived at Volusion in late November 2010, I knew that my years of running from full-time labor had been subtly misled. The road that eventually wrecked my house of cards had also taught me something interesting: that aimless leisure time can actually be toxic.

This idea was surprising to me because I had never confronted work through the eyes of Scripture before. Instead, I had only used the eyes of my culture. And from the Enlightenment on down to the 4-Hour Work Week, our culture has quietly grown obsessed with working less and earning more. Even while the average work week has grown longer, our civilization has fixated more on the vacation time, or the retirement — the season when finally we can kick back and live.

Or at least, that’s how it seemed to me, while I grew up in this culture. And The 4-hour Work Week was a mega-hit on the NYT Bestsellers list. Its sequel, the fitness-oriented 4-hour Body, also jumped to #1 as soon as it was released. I can’t say I don’t understand why.

But there are some terrible lies in play here.

If I only glance into Scripture, the deception is revealed plainly. We are, as a species, intended mainly for work, not leisure. Whether you believe that Genesis 1 was literal or didactic, there’s the key point that we are not intended to simply play. There’s the Sabbath for rest, yes, and don’t think that I don’t cherish my rest. But, just after the Creator told us to be fruitful, He also said: this is very good.

To conclude: the pedicabbing lifestyle was an inversion of the rhythm that’s meant for me. The 4-hour work week is, I contend, an inversion of the rhythm that was intended for all of us. And I don’t mean that we need to be superglued to a job or a company or a schedule for life. Butwe all need mission. We need work set before us. And so since November I’ve been accepting this kind of rhythm for the first time, and believing that my days at Volusion are, whether easy or hard, ultimately good.

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