Escape from Work and Escape for Work

One of the things I appreciate about good friends is how they refresh my perspective on a matter.

For example, one good friend of mine asked me recently what do I do for a job. I said nothing. He looked at me quizzically and asked me to list the things I did in a day. When I finished the list, he asked me again what I did for a job. I duly received my correction on the matter. It’s refreshed again my perspective on work and how I can affirm and appreciate what I do even more and aspire to see a job in a wider scope than I did previously.

Another good friend sat and talked with me about pastimes. He’s going through a heavy transition in his life embracing a new opportunity to contribute to Kingdom matters. Any new season comes with moments of uncertainty and he shared the positive role pastimes can play in the process. He did so masterfully in highlighting the difference between using pastimes to escape from work as opposed to the function of pastime being as an escape to work.

The former is one that I am familiar with and is predominant in a lot of leisure culture. The perceived grind and ugliness of work, the drudgery, at times the monotony and sometimes the relentless nature of work, leaves someone eager to find something to help get away from it. As a result over time attention and affection is placed more on the pastime than the work. The work is necessary in as much as it provides resources that help enjoy the pastime.

In as much as there’s nothing wrong with having a pastime, there is something wrong when it becomes that consuming. When it’s pull on you as an escape from is that strong everything becomes skewered.

God made us among other things to work. Cultivating, developing and bringing out the best in a given environment is not a chore as God views it. This is the pinnacle of the creative force, even as the pinnacle of earth’s creative process was the creation of a being in the image of the Creator. Whether it’s a garden, a vineyard, a factory, an office, a school or wherever it may be it is an environment in which humanity can cultivate and bring out the best in it.

That doesn’t mean God designed for humanity to be at it all day every day. So sometimes a pastime can be a useful tool to exercise mental and physical capabilities that nourish your own self in preparation for work. As your being invests itself for the reasonable time in whatever it is doing as a pastime, it can gain what it needs to and be all the better when it goes back to work. The pastime takes its rightful place as a support for the work even in providing brief respite from it, not building a separated life from the work that detracts from it.

Some talk about the need for balance in life. Wisdom is a great quality to pursue far more than balance. Wisdom gives everything its due time and place. That would help tremendously in allowing the freedom to view work as it should be and thus giving pastime its due place in the wider scheme of things.

For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden


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