Question:

What does the Bible mean by overworking? Is it a sin to want to be successful in terms of your job? And by that I mean, for example, I have a dream of starting a business and making it one of the most successful businesses with regard to the specific field. Is this a sin? It's not about the money or fame. Although it is nice, it's not the core. I want to do this because it's a dream that I wish to achieve. I want to prove to others that you can do whatever your dreams are. So, is it wrong to achieve this? I aim for 6-7 hours of sleep a day. Sometimes I sleep even less. Is this wrong of me to do this?


Answer:

Work must be balanced with other things in life. Laziness brings about poverty. "I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man" (Proverbs 24:30-34). But overworking isn't an assurance of wealth either. "Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven" (Proverbs 23:4-5).

Men, though, need to put in diligent effort. "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; you shall have enough goats' milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants" (Proverbs 27:23-27). The effort is toward having enough. "Give me neither poverty nor riches-Feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8-9).

If you work so hard that you never have time to enjoy life, then you are overworking. "For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 2:22-24).

Work needs a purpose beyond the work itself or the money you might gain. "There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" This also is vanity and a grave misfortune" (Ecclesiastes 4:8). Instead we aim to have enough to live upon and a little extra to help others who may be less fortunate. "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need" (Ephesians 4:28).