What was your first job? One of my first jobs was to pick up garbage in a truck yard. I was very young and excited for the money, but hated the work. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my actions were shaping my work ethic, and my work ethic plays a big part in shaping my legacy.
This is the final post in a series of five posts exploring critical decisions that will determine our legacy. These lessons are all taken from 2 Timothy 2:1-7. The first four decisions we looked at are:
- Who are you following?
- Where are you investing?
- What are your goals?
- What rules and ethics guide your life?
Decision #5: What Do You Work Hard At?
Every person I know works hard. The question is more about what we work hard at and does it really matter?
When it comes to our jobs, researchers Michael Huberman and Chris Minns have looked at global working hours. They discovered that working hours have dramatically declined during the past 130+ years. For example, in 1870 Canadians and Americans worked 57 and 62 hours a week respectively. By 2000, this number dropped to approximately 40 hours a week.
As productivity tools have helped us increase our efficiency, this decline in working hours is likely seen as a good thing by many. Imagine what all of us would do with an extra 20 hours a week. So, what do we do with all that extra time?
How We Use Our Time
The study from Huberman and Minns looked at how much we worked in 1870 – obviously before TV and the internet. According to Nielsen, Americans average about 35 hours a week watching TV. Canadians average about 27 hours a week. This does not include the amount of time we spend on the internet.
We have replaced our historic working hours with the leisure time of watching television. It feels like almost everyone talks about how busy they are, but yet we still have more than one full day a week to watch television.
Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like we could be using this time not in our jobs for more productive means.
The Legacy of Working Hard
In 2 Timothy 2:6, the apostle Paul is teaching his spiritual son Timothy. He makes a reference to a hard working farmer being able to enjoy the first share of the crops. It carries the idea that hard work is designed to give us a reward to enjoy.
A former colleague of mine used to say this:
“Men work at their play, play at their worship, and worship their work.” Brian Warren
When I talk about working hard, I am not only talking about your employment. I believe we should be working hard in every area of our life. We should be working to build stronger relationships with our spouse, children, family, and friends. We should be working hard in a mission or cause that is important in our hearts.
Life is filled with opportunities to work. What you work at is going to define your life, impact, and legacy.