The Big Juggle - Balancing Work & Hobbies, Exercise and Study


“How can Christians play when people are dying everyday”. This is the challenge that opens Jurgen Moltmann’s A Theology of Play. And it was with this challenge that Life @ Work director Andrew Laird opened our most recent breakfast, The Big Juggle – Balancing work and…exercises, hobbies and study. Andrew argued that rather than play being a bad thing, Christians are people who must play.

Considering Ecclesiastes 2, Andrew suggested that we can approach living in this world in one of two ways; either as an arena in which we try and gain things for ourselves, or as an arena in which we receive good gifts from a generous heavenly Father, trusting in Him to provide. When we live the second way, like a dependant child, God is honoured in our lives.

Andrew suggested that this is a reason why it is so important that we play. That we get away from the workplace, which encourages us to think we are competent and in control of all things, and play, undertaking activities for no other purpose than the sheer joy of enjoying them as gifts from a loving heavenly Father. In short, we need to become like children, because after all it is children that Jesus says the Kingdom of God belongs to.

Andrew then went on to suggest that this view of play helps us fit it into our busy lives. He suggested three ways of balancing work and play – only doing as much as is necessary to foster this child-like dependence, making wonder and worship the priority of our play, and combining activities especially in light of the season we are in. This final one, Andrew said, is why playing Duplo, doing colouring in, and having babycino/coffee dates with his young daughter are his main ways of playing at the moment! 

Finally Andrew considered the powerful witness that playing in this way can be to our colleagues. He challenged us to think about the fact that if we want to tell our colleagues about a sovereign God then we need to not act like a control freak in the office. Spending time away from the office, playing with our colleagues, gives them a chance to see us living as children who depend on a sovereign God to provide for all our needs, including our greatest need of salvation in Jesus.