Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed. – Exodus 23:12 NIV
When I worked in the corporate world it was no big deal to walk into the office on a Saturday or Sunday and have company. It didn’t matter which department, routinely someone was at work seven days per week.
The sad thing is that when you are young you actually wear it as a badge of honor. You are more dedicated, ambitious, and always getting things done.
Watching people who have families and friends still at work, past a time when home harmony is surely broken, changes that badge from honor to shame.
As a Christian business owner we have a choice to honor God’s plan regarding work. We should have reasonable work hours for the team that works with us.
When God gives us guidance in Scripture it is because it is what is best for us.
Why Rest is Important
Here are several reasons why it is wise, as well as obedient, to maintain a reasonable work week and ensure that your employees have at least one full day off, preferably two.
- There are diminishing returns on a person’s effectiveness the more hours they work.
- People need time with family and friends. If they are working every day for long hours it will have an impact on their relationships.
- Eventually strained relationships have an impact on a person’s engagement and focus. Marriage problems and problems with children are more important than work. The employee is torn.
- Creativity blooms with rest and space. We need to approach our work with a fresh eye and a renewed spirit to be innovative and think out of the box.
- People have to take care of their lives. Working all of the time leaves no time for exercise, doctor visits, and regular boring errands. Give the guy time to get a haircut and pay his parking tickets!
- Tired employees with no life end up leaving or you ask them to leave. Turnover is expensive, time consuming, and leaves a whole in your operations.
- Unreasonable work hours create a culture of “us and them”. Martyrs are born. Shame and fear creep into those who don’t succumb to the culture.
If you review this list, it comes down to the fact that working your team, or rewarding those who over-work, doesn’t honor God, doesn’t show respect and love for your team, and doesn’t benefit your company.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. – Psalm 112:5 NIV