While we talk often about bringing our faith to work, we don’t explore nearly as much how business shapes us positively by forming in us trustworthiness, perseverance, discipline and the like, according to Kenman Wong and Scott Rae in Business for the Common Good.
Business can shape us negatively as well, though: “overwork and overidentification with work.” Here, “work is too closely intertwined with” our entire lives. The antidote is “remembering the sabbath,” “redeeming the time,” and “keeping work in proper perspective.”
With respect to sabbath keeping, Wong and Rae observe that when “God reissued the sabbath commandment” in Deuteronomy 5 (after the initial issuance in Exodus 20), the basis of the commandment is different: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” Here, “God is affirming to the Israelites that they are no longer slaves…. Refusal to keep the sabbath meant that people were enslaved to their work.”
This enslavement to work can manifest itself in different ways for different people nowadays.
For me, it’s my obsessively feeling the need to check my “crackberry” away from the office. It’s not being fully present with whoever I’m with — which is often my family or friends — because I’m mulling in my mind over some work-related matter. It’s carrying back home my stressed mind and mood from work. A real point of repentance and growth especially in this Lenten season.