Looking for a Better Way
by Mark Shaw
EDITOR'S NOTE: Today's post is an excerpt of Mark Shaw's book, Work, Play, Love: A Visual Guide to Calling, Career and the Mission of God (2014, 240 pages). As you'll see from the excerpt below, the book is filled with many wonderful drawings by Mark. Learn more about Mark and his work as the director of the Peninsula Fellows program by clicking here.
Millions of people live their whole lives according to the scripts written by the workaholic, the silo artist or the work hard–play hard acrobat. For many millennials, and even for their parents, these three scripts constitute their calling in life. But emerging adults deserve better options for work-life balance than these three traditional ones. Is there a better way?
I’d like to add a new model of work-life balance to the mix. I call it the “wisdom worker” model. The roots of this view are ancient. They are found in the book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Scriptures. Though Proverbs introduces the model, the rest of the Bible develops the wisdom worker model in profound and useful ways. What excites me about the model is that it works. I have found this model to be both life changing and highly productive. I also enjoy the way this model opens up the great story arc of the Bible, something called the mission of God, and shows us how to become relevant to this massive project that is both global and transformational. So I want to begin the search for answers to the work-life balance by taking a deeper look into the book of Proverbs.
Before I begin, however, I need to address why I use the Bible. For some readers, my starting point could be a problem. The Bible is a difficult book full of controversial moral judgments and harsh doctrines. Why use this problematic source as a primary text for answering questions about work, play and love? I can appreciate this concern. My personal experience with the Bible, however, has been very different. I have, admittedly, found the Bible to be both difficult and controversial. But I have also found it to be so much more than that. The Bible has answered my big questions (the “Why am I here?” questions) as well as many of my smaller ones (for example, “How do I get my life in balance?”). No book I have ever encountered has changed my life and thinking about God, the world, humanity and the self as much as the Bible has. I have become convinced that God speaks through this book in a special and powerful way. But you don’t need to share my personal convictions in order to go on this journey into the Bible with me. There is a good reason why even someone from another faith, or no faith, should take the Bible seriously—because it contains wisdom.
I want to read the Bible as a book of wisdom. Wisdom is decision making that leads to human flourishing. Folly is decision making that destroys life. Wisdom builds up. Folly tears down. Throughout history, in all societies, those two paths have been mapped out to help emerging generations choose life over death.
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