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“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” —Psalm 61:2
By Pastor Rick Mensing (adapted from an article by James Dennison, August 21, 2019)
Labor Day was established to honor American laborers and to provide them with a day of rest. It would seem that laborers are not the only ones who need some rest.
Daniel Markovits is a professor at Yale Law School with previous study at the London School of Economics, Oxford, Harvard, and Yale Law School. In The Atlantic, he pulls back the curtain on one of America’s most destructive myths: the harder you work, the happier you’ll be.
Wealthy students demonstrate higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse than poor students do. They suffer depression and anxiety at rates as much as triple those of their age peers. In a recent study of Silicon Valley High School students, 54 percent displayed moderate to severe symptoms of depression and 80 percent displayed moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety.
Their parents are suffering as well. In 1962, the American Bar Association declared that there are “approximately 1,300 fee-earning hours per year” available to the typical lawyer. By 2000, the number had risen to 2,400 billable hours. According to Markovits, billing 2,400 hours could require working from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. six days a week, every day of the year, without vacation or sick days.
It is unsurprising that roughly two thirds of elite workers say they would decline a promotion if the new job demanded yet more of their energy. Most Americans who work more than sixty hours a week report that they would prefer twenty-five fewer hours. They complain about the “time famine” resulting from overwork that interferes with their marriages, families, and health.
Markovits concludes: “It is simply not possible to get rich off your own human capital without exploiting yourself and impoverishing your inner life, and meritocrats who hope to have their cake and eat it too deceive themselves.”
Markovits’ fascinating essay however, leaves out a component that is foundational to the kind of flourishing he wants for all Americans.
Consider a book written from the other end of the spectrum. Hillbilly Elegy is J. D. Vance’s story of his family’s roots in Kentucky and Ohio. In many ways, it makes Markovits’ case: many in rural, impoverished America see no future for themselves and have given up hope.
With one exception. Vance reconnected with his biological father after years of family chaos and a “revolving door of father figures.” The reason: his father had become a Christian. Vance notes: “In this, Dad embodied a phenomenon social scientists have observed for decades: Religious folks are much happier. Regular church attendees commit fewer crimes, are in better health, live longer, make more money, drop out of high school less frequently, and finish college more frequently than those who don’t attend church at all.”
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Could it be that an obsession with material success “devours the elite” not just because of the time demands it makes and stress it produces but also because it is the wrong answer to life’s most fundamental question? Is it possible that creatures need a relationship with our Creator? Jesus was clear: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). It is they who “wait for the Lord” who “shall renew their strength” and “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).
Would Jesus say you are abiding in Him? Would the Lord agree that you are waiting on Him?
Paul described the source of his ministry: “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:29). When we depend on ourselves more than we submit to and rely upon Him, we miss all that Almighty God can do in and through us.
David’s prayer is essential for us all: “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). We find our rest that truly satisfies in our Lord and in His presence!

God bless you always, Pastor Rick Mensing