Defining work, leisure and play – Part 3

Definitions of work, leisure and play follow, since all three make up necessary components of life to make a complete person.

  • Work is necessary toil to live and support oneself, which includes working at a job. Work also images God and therefore makes a person complete.
  • Leisure is reflecting upon finished production, self, others and God to the end of self-enrichment. Leisure is not the absence of work nor is it mindless state. At its best, leisure is a process of self-enrichment that reflects on what has been done, searches the heart, plans for the future, and pursues betterment through learning, music and the arts.
  • Play is doing that which is morally beneficial in a relaxing and enjoyable way. It is enjoying what God enjoys and taking advantage of entertainment in a God-honoring way, because God cares how we play.

God cares about how people use all three. Sadly, leisure activities have become an embarrassment in the West because they are viewed as being “non-productive” and unhelpful. However, by devaluing leisure people lose their humanity, since when leisure is discounted, individuals stop imaging God.

The Big Idea: Work, leisure and play must be united in the life of a person[1] to fully image God, that is, to fully grow into the redeemed image of Christ. Humanity is morally accountable in how it does all three; so the workaholic who takes no leisure sins as much as the one who lives for leisure. Balance is the target. In a culture that overly values success and results, Christians must strive for excellence in leisure and play, because work is idolized too much.

Method: Definitions on the image of God and how that relates to humans will appear this Friday. Subsequent days will begin answering ‘what it means to image God in life?’ and ‘what it means to grow into the image of Christ?’ Finally, I hope to add a personal example of what this looks like in the life of a believer caps off the argument to bring the abstract into the concrete.


            [1] But this may not be possible in a sin cursed world (some people must work all day just to live!). However, the ideal remains what it is, even though God cursed creation.

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4 thoughts on “Defining work, leisure and play – Part 3

  1. When you talk about leisure, not being mindless, but self enriching, I suppose that this eliminates most of modern “entertainment”.

    Do you believe all forms of mindless “entertainment” would be unbiblical, or could they be a form of acceptable rest?

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