Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Choosing to Cheat

Today this little book was given to me by a few of the guys at Parkview who attended a recent conference at North Point Community Church, in Atlanta, GA. The book is written by Andy Stanley and is a practical little book on balancing your career with your family life. Here’s a brief description from the back of the book:
This little book presents a strategic plan for resolving the tensions between work and home – reversing the destructive pattern of giving to your company and career what belongs to your family.
This book will be a great motivator and tool for the person who struggles balancing career with the responsibility to be a loving contributor to his or her family. In the book Stanley recognizes for many of us that there will never be enough time to do all you can and should do either at the office or at home, thus as the title of the book suggests, something will always be cheated. Of course, Stanley advises that, when push comes to shove, it will always cost more if you choose to cheat your family in the name of “work”. This cost may come in the form of a divorce or a grown child strung out on drugs. Whatever the case, we mustn’t allow our career to keep us from being the father or mother God has called us to be.

That said, those of you who are Biblically minded will notice how lightweight Stanley is in his Biblical interpretation and application. In many regards this is much more of a good secular book with some biblical references thrown in for punch. If we boil down the issues of workaholism, it will always lead us to the struggle between idolatry and the transforming work of the Gospel. We also must be very cautious with Stanley's proposal that cheating work for your family could likely lead to a blessing in your home and career. Of course, in many regards this may be measurably true; however, we must tread cautiously when we try to motivate people with the fringe benefits of obedience (no different than the health-wealth gospel). As one commentator noted, "The true reward God gives us for the gift of faith, is forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation; a promotion at work pales in comparison."

Despite these concerns, there are some good principles in the book that will be very helpful to those fighting to balance family with career. Apparently those who shared the book with me felt I could use the gentle reminder. I did find the book helpful in many regards and will recommend it on to those also struggling to maintain their balance between the home and the office.

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