• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Surely You Can Work a Little Harder…

Some of us need to work harder than we do. Students fool themselves, thinking they are “studying” when they are just hanging out with their friends with open books in front of them. Professors think they are working when they are merely chatting with colleagues or fussing about some minor matter of campus politics. Pastors think they are working when they are having yet another breakfast or coffee meeting with somebody in their parish simply because they are with somebody in their parish — even if the conversation seems to accomplish very little.

Many of us, however, work harder than we should. For whatever reason, and there are a lot of possible reasons, we are pushing ourselves beyond the limits of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

This is hardly a startling observation, of course. So let us hear some wisdom from a very hard-working Christian brother who flourished four centuries ago. His name is Vincent de Paul, and he was an astonishing minister for good in the church. Furthermore, he has inspired many people to do good in his name and in the name of the Lord he so assiduously served.

So let us hear his warning today: “Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick of the devil, which he employs to deceive good souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything.”

Hmm. I suddenly realize I’ve been sitting in this chair for too long, staring at this screen for too long. It’s time for a break. And you?

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