I am thirty-two years old, happily married, and we have one child. I work all day long. My salary provides for many things, but unfortunately the work is very demanding.

I have little time left to spend with my child and my wife. I want to quit my job to be able to spend more time with my family, even though I realize that this change would mean less income. I don’t want to miss out on the best years of my son’s life, watching him grow up.

Dear Friend,

We fully understand your demanding work situation because it is true for many people. But we congratulate you for recognizing how important it is to be with your family and for wanting to make the changes necessary to make that possible.

You say that you will make less income if you quit your job. Other people stay in demanding jobs because they want to advance their careers. Still others work too much because their work helps the less fortunate, and if they worked less, it would mean helping less. Then there are those whose identity is wrapped up in their work, and if they stopped working so hard, they might lose their sense of who they are.

There is no formula that can tell us how much work is enough and how much work is too much. Nor is there any verse in the Bible that says that we must work forty or forty-eight hours each week. But are there principles in the Bible that can help us? Thankfully, there are.

First, the Apostle Paul taught by example and in his writings that we should all be willing to work to earn what we need to live. (1) He also taught that we must provide for our own families and not expect someone else to do it. (2) However, there is no place in the Bible where we are taught that it is important to gain wealth. Instead, Jesus Christ taught the importance of seeking first what God wants, and then letting Him take care of everything else. (3)

Seeking what God wants for us may sound strange to many people. They have the idea that God wants us to be good people and obey certain rules. They think of God as a judge who dispassionately punishes us for wrongdoing, without really getting involved in the other parts of our lives.

To seek God first means to understand that He is a loving Father who wants to be a part of our lives. He wants a relationship with us. He wants to help and guide us, sharing our sorrow in the tough times and our joy in the good times. Isn’t that exactly the way that you want to be there for your son?

We cannot advise you as to how much you should work, where you should work, or how much time you should spend with your family. But your Heavenly Father can advise you. We recommend that you talk to Him about it and ask Him to show you what is right for your situation.

We wish you well,

1 2Th 3:7-10
2 1Ti 5:8
3 Mt 6:33