I wrote this letter for my friend George Rogers, a retired businessman whom I greatly respect and who shares my love of fiction, family, and good work.


I think you and I both worry that we’re workaholics. What’s worse is I think we both love it. Despite the difficulty in working long hours, the threat of having nothing to do seems infinitely more difficult still. Because work satisfies. Because work provides dignity. Because work allows us to make a contribution, to feel significant, and to find meaning in the expanse of our minds.

Should it come as any surprise that God made us this way?

“Life offers no fulfillment without work.”[1]

People sometimes think of heaven as blissful boredom in the same way Eden was a petting zoo. But we know differently. We’ve studied the scriptures. We’ve taken time to understand that—from the beginning—God put it in us that we should contribute. Creation is his unfinished symphony, and God has passed us both the fountain pen and the conductor’s baton to scribble in the final lines.

The Hebrew word for work and worship is the same: avodah. Why is this so difficult for us to remember? Why do so many people insist on vilifying work and sanctifying singing, when the biblical vocabulary clearly indicates that any activity can be sacralized as an offering unto God?[2]

Work, brother. It’s holy. It’s good. And knowing that changes everything: it changes our motivation for work, it releases our satisfaction in work, it permits extemporaneous joy through work, it alters our conception of work, and it gives us the basis for recovering the godly way in which our work is done!

Can our so-called workaholism really be wrong when our wives rejoice at the fire inside us? When our friends chuckle at our enthusiasm for productivity? When our children (and grandchildren) joke about how we’ll never retire (even though we will {and you have})?

Sometimes, it’s true, work must be endured.[3] But mainly, for people like you and me, our work is enjoyed.

Because it’s worship.



[1] Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011), 154.

[2] 1 Corinthians 10.31.

[3] There is some reason to caution against workaholism if families are exploited, rest is ignored, and spirits are depleted. But those cautions are well-documented. This letter is to remind us work can be wonderful.