Live to Work or Work to Live

Sometimes I like to take a look at a situation and then split people up into two categories so I can understand them better. So like for instance, there are two kinds of people introverts and extroverts. The fact that I understand something like that gives me tons of insight into people’s lives that I interact with on a day to day basis. I do it almost daily in conversations, so much so I should probably start a new category just for my categories that I shove people into.

My new one that I’m starting to see is that there is two kinds of people. People who work so they can do what they want (ie. have money to travel) and then there are people who do what they want in work. If someone gets both well then props to them and we all envy their lives but for the most part I think that is a fair separation. I personally fall into the latter category. If I’m not enjoying myself at work well then I just don’t do it, and it is hard to find the motivation to do it. Where as Rachel (my wife) will work 40 hour work weeks at something she despises to be able to give her the freedom at other parts of her life later on. It’s been an interesting thing to discover together.

Now that I’m typing this, I’m realizing I have probably read the dichotomy before, in that you either live to work or work to live. So maybe my thoughts aren’t that revolutionary. I can’t tell you how freeing it is though to finally grasp these concepts for the first time and see how our human makeup has us all bringing different perspectives to the table. Where do you find yourself on this spectrum? How does someone who works to live decide when he’s worked enough to finally live? Where is the line or the balance? I don’t think I could live a single week of working to live, I have a hard time doing things that my heart isn’t in and it emotionally affects me. Maybe it’s because I can’t see beyond the forty hour weeks.

2 Comments

  • Nathan,
    I have been fortunate enough that from the time of graduating from college I have been able to do the very thing that I love while earning a living that has always been enough. The scriptures tell us that a “workman is worhty of his hire.” IN the midst of doing what I love, there have been things that have been required of me in the job that I do not enjoy doing, yet must be done. Let me teach, preach, counsel, talk, debate, share and be with people and I am content. However, the job of administration in the role that I function in is an must, a necessary evil. It is during the latter that I have found the biggest growth, where I have been stretched out side of my comfort zone and learned to trust. There is also the “call” to whatever it is that God is calling you to, and with the call comes sufficient grace. There is a great movie that has been out for about a month called “The Bucket List”. Check it out, I think you will enjoy it. Think about it, you want to eat, you got to work. However, I live not to work, not to eat, but to be obedient to the one who created me, breathed into me the breath of life and called me. As I seek to fulfill and be obedient in what it is that He has called me to, I find that I fall into both camps, which isn’t a bad thing.

    Douig Van Veldhuisen

  • I suspect I am someone who works to live, though I actually don’t work that much. I do gauge nearly everything I do according to how it will impact my work/ministry.

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