Father, forgive us for inventing overtime

The deeper one gets into the message of Ecclesiastes, the more you can look around and see this fallen world “living” Ecclesiastes. Toil without contentment. Loneliness and isolation. A creation lost without the salvation of Christ.

The Japanese Labor Bureau ruled today that one of Toyota’s top engineers, age 45, recently died from overwork. He was under “severe pressure” to develop a new hybrid version of the Toyota Camry — averaging more than 80 hours of overtime per month. In 2002, another Toyota employee collapsed and died at work at the age of 30. Was it all worth it?

There is another way. This is not how God intends for us to live the gift of life that we are given. “Thus I realized that the only worthwhile thing there is for them is to enjoy themselves and do what is good in their lifetime; also, that whenever a man does eat and drink and get enjoyment out of all his wealth, it is a gift of God.” (Ecc 3:12-13)


3 thoughts on “Father, forgive us for inventing overtime

  1. Just wanted to say that I found your blog by doing a search for Ecclesiastes Bible Studies. Have been lurking and following the study for a few weeks now. I’ve appreciated the research and background you provide, while asking thought provoking, Spirit-led questions. Thank you for providing your work online. God bless your teaching and impact on the Kingdom.

    (In Minnesota now…formerly from Nebraska…love that connection too!)

  2. been reading up and enjoying your thoughts, meg :) i had to comment on this one — the japanese work system is nuts.. many first year employees leave their homes for work at 7a and get home at 8p. i’m not at all surprised about the two deaths you mentioned, given what i’ve seen and heard here. there are lots of cultural and spiritual strongholds that tie into it all, i think.

    there are a few redeeming factors of the japanese system: though you’re with your company for (pretty much) life, they really take care of you — often pay your rent and have great benefits, job security, etc. japan has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. they also base salary less on performance and more on number of years in the company, but also on stage of life. for instance, the first year worker who is married and has kids makes more than the single one who’s been there for five years — because he has kids to take care of. (the downside: when the kids leave home, his salary drops!) .. its fascinating, how different the systems of the world can be.

    i still can’t believe we’ve never met face-to-face. do you ever talk with mike or dixie? (or do you know them? i can’t remember..)

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