Proverbs 23:4, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.”
According to recent studies the American worker is the most overworked employee of all the developed nations. Americans on average worker longer hours, have less vacations and days off, and retire at an older age compared to workers in Japan, Canada, England, Germany, France, etc. Plus, the US doesn’t even require its employers to give extended time off with paid maternity leave for parents who have new babies.
In 1960 only 20% of mothers worked outside of the home, today over 70% of children live in homes where both parents work. In the US 85% of males and 66% of females work more than 40 hours per week. For perspective, Americans work 137 more hours a year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours a year than British workers, and almost 500 more hours a year than French workers- that’s almost 10 more hours a week!
What is the price Americans have to pay for being overworked? Stress. The result of being overworked is being overstressed. Doctors in ever field agree that stress places a major factor in our health. Stress affects the heart, the mind, the immune system, the muscles, and even our sexuality. It is believed that stress is the leading cause for 75% of doctor visits. Whether it’s a cold or a backache, most sick days are caused because of lack of rest and proper diet, which are common symptoms for stress.
King Solomon in the above proverb gives a simple, yet powerful piece of wisdom to all people- especially the American worker, “don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich- don’t trust your own cleverness!” In other words, “don’t stress yourself out working so hard to get rich that your health and family suffers- you’re not that smart!”
We may think we’re clever enough to work all these hours and not pay a price for it- but that’s foolish thinking. Humble yourself and take a day off- rest. You will be better off in working less because you will be in better shape both mentally and physically.
- Ask God to give you wisdom to find time to rest and restore your mind, body, and spirit.
- Identify any stress symptoms in your life- like smoking, cursing, over eating, lack of good sleep, and reverse the curse. Start exercising, going to bed early, and try to follow better eating habits.
- Ask God everyday to guard you from falling into the trap of “wearing yourself out.”