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Why Workaholism Looks So Good: Tim Kimmel & Michael Tooker

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 10, 2022 3:00 am

Why Workaholism Looks So Good: Tim Kimmel & Michael Tooker

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 10, 2022 3:00 am

Workaholism makes a good attempt to fullfill your needs but what's the real cost. On FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson host authors Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker, who share their own stories and look beneath the luster of overwork.

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There's three ways we can look up. We can look out or we can look in, and what I find many times is people that are really frustrated with their situation are looking too much inwardly, and they're not happy with what they're getting from life or their job or their marriage or their whatever. But if you start to say, I'm going to look up at God and pursue Him, I'm going to look out at others and serve them, that just changes things.

It takes the attention off yourself and it puts it where it should rightly be, and over time, then that completely changes the trajectory of your life. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today.

So we're talking about work today, how we operate in our workspace. And I did a little research just yesterday. I did not know this. A 2021 Microsoft survey said that 41% of the current workforce is planning to quit their jobs this year. 41%. I mean, I was astounded. I thought it'd be 10%, 20%. And then Gallup did a poll before the pandemic that found that 85% of employees are unengaged at work. That didn't surprise me as much.

Yeah, me neither. But 41% plan on getting. You know what that creates in me?

This insecurity as a wife, as a mom, like what are we going to do? You know, and I'm not saying that's just men that are doing it, but a lot of women are thinking, I want out of here. Do you think it's because they don't enjoy their workplace? All I know is I just heard, you better keep working. That's what you just said to me. That's all I heard. That's all I got. We're here for that. It's like, okay, honey, I'm not going to lose my job.

No, I'm thinking for myself too. What we're going to talk about today, and we've got our good friend Dr. Tim Kimmel in the studio with us, and your friend Michael Tooker is with you as well. And you guys have written a book on this. So first of all, just welcome to Family Life today. Thank you. Thank you for having us. Glad to be here.

Always love circling back with you. I mean, how many times do you think you've been on Family Life today? Do you know? I don't know.

A lot. Probably for each book? Do you think you're here for every book? And how many books has that been?

Well, not every book, because they didn't have the radio program when I did about half of them. In other words, you're saying you're a little older? I've been around a while. But I know the former Yehoos that were sitting where you guys were, and I love those guys. And they weren't as cute as this woman sitting here. Well, that's for sure. Bob's a cute guy, but I don't think he can hold a candle in the head. But Dennis Raney and Bob Lapine served well, and they set the plate for you guys.

They sure did. It's been fun to watch how you guys have taken it from there. And it's just something to be able to talk with freedom about God's grace playing out in all the nuances of our life. Yeah, and it's interesting.

Obviously, you've written a lot of books on marriage, family, parenting. This one's on work. And it's called Grace at Work. The subtitle is, The Secret to Getting More from Your Job Than a Paycheck.

And isn't that what we all want? We want to love our work. So how did this collaboration happen? How do you two know each other? Well, so the way we met is kind of an interesting story. So my wife and I met Tim about the same time I met Christ. We stumbled into a marriage class at our church, and things were on fire.

And not a good fire, as we described, but it was more of the car fire or the dumpster fire. Oh, in your marriage? In my marriage and my life. I was a kind of recovering workaholic and had kind of driven my career into the ditch, if you will.

And so some good friends invited us into church and had a chance to start learning about who is Christ and what does he want for my life and the fact that he wanted my life at all. How old were you, Michael? I was, let's see, 34 at the time. So that's how I met Tim. Tim was a teacher of this marriage enrichment class. How many years ago?

This was about 18 years ago. Wow. And so the cool thing was at the same time I'm coming to know Christ and giving my life over to Christ and learning about God's grace, I'm under the teaching of this guy. And he was kind of unpacking what is God's grace, because it's a lot of different facets to it. And so I was so taken by it that eventually I went and worked for Tim to grace-based families. And what I kept hearing there, and Tim had heard this for years, I think, was people that had seen this message of God's grace transform their marriage and their families were saying, hey, I work too, I have this workplace and do you have a translation of this for the workplace? And so Tim and I had coffee about a year after I left and I said, hey, I feel like I've got this burden to do this book.

And he said, well, then do it, write a book. So that was how it kind of started. You know, when I first met them, they came into this class and I looked at his wife and all I saw in her eyes were rage.

Wow. And their marriage was on life support. But some friends just loved them enough to just say, no, we're not giving up on you guys and we don't want you to give up on each other. But there was a big void in their life. Neither of them knew Jesus and they came to know Christ. And then just unpacking what God's applied grace looks like, because grace is usually kept in a conceptual level, very abstract.

It's something that saves us and then we kind of stop it right there. And no, he said, no, the grace I saved you with, I meant to wash over you and completely retrofit you and redefine you and become the default mode of how you deal with everybody from here on out. And so we were unpacking that for them. But this man here has, from the beginning, he was brought up in a family. His father was a CEO of a Fortune 50 company. He had a front row seat to the high level thin air of executive marketplace. And he was prepared to do that same thing. And he came out of his MBA like a rocket and he went to the top so fast. But he also went to the top with all the values and the priorities that so many people go, that are empty and bankrupt and one dimensional, and it got him like it gets so many people. Yeah, Michael, was one of the things going on in your life that time?

Because it definitely relates to this book, Grace at Work. Was it the work, life, as Tim just said, man, you're in the lead air. Did that really affect your marriage?

Oh, for sure. And then we started having kids, right? So you take career. And what I found was I was really wired in a particular way and I was trying to perform the way the world, at least the way I thought the world wanted me to or needed me to, to climb the ladder and keep doing jobs with more responsibility and more obligation. And so I found myself kind of dumping my friends, dumping my hobbies, dumping my fitness, dumping my health, dumping my marriage because I became so singularly focused on myself and trying to manage this facade that at some point.

You know, when the wheels finally came off and literally the moment when I cried out to Christ was my wife and I had been going to counseling and it was two o'clock in the morning in August of 04, I think it was August around there. And she said, you know what, Michael, she said, I don't love you anymore. I don't even like you. She says, when you're here, you're almost never here. And when you are here, you're just a jerk to me. Would you just leave?

Just make this easy on me and go. And that was the moment when I realized, man, I've squandered this great life. I was coming to realize that God had this life, that everything good in my life had come from him and I blew it. And I was that guy, right, that I could fix anything, solve anything. And what I realized was I got nothing.

And so that's when I literally fell out of bed, cried out to God and said, God, I don't know who you are really, but I know I've blown it and I need help and I'll follow you if you'll have me. I mean, it's beautiful to me to think, you know, as a pastor for 30 years, we are always trying to get our congregation to invite people. Invite your neighbors. And somebody just invited you and here you are. And he'd been inviting me for three years because he saw that he was a buddy that I was going to grad school when my roommate was in law school and this was a law school buddy of my roommate. And he just kind of took a liking to me and he just kept saying, hey, why don't you and your wife come to this? Because he saw what was starting to happen because it happened pretty quick and he just kept pursuing me.

And finally, when the wheels came on, I don't know what to do, but I called Andy and I'm like, hey, Andy, that thing you were inviting me to, my wife and I'd like to go. Yeah, we've always said at our church, we said, you know, if somebody shows up first time, and there's probably a lot of things going on, but we always thought one of two things is happening in our life. And a lot of times you don't think this. One is they're desperate. Something dramatic has happened has put them at a low end. Or, and you never think this, or they're at the top of the game and they're empty.

Like, I've got everything I ever dreamed of and it's not, this can't be it. And they come walking in and you never think people like that are walking in. You were sort of both.

A little both. Exactly. Well, and you know, Dennis Rainey used to have this statement that God picks up crooked sticks and draw straight lines with him all the time. And I have to give some credit on how he used Michael's wife in this because see, we knew a lot of people who like them had had this really meteoric trajectory to the top of the heap and the business world and the paychecks to show for it and the privileges to go for it. And the marriage was bankrupt and empty, but they just accepted that. And they basically became roommates with occasional benefits. But other than that, there's no love story being written.

I appreciate the fact that his wife said, no, I'm not accepting this. And we've got a problem here. And you're going to lose your kids. You're going to lose me.

And you're going to lose everything. And she's not talking about money. She's talking about anything meaningful. Their lives, their relationship. And I just so appreciate the fact that she said, this isn't going to work. We've got to do something.

Because passivity in these situations, many times I think that's what people accept. Yeah. And it's a turning point.

You don't know our story. Yeah, I was just going to say that is exactly. I mean, Dave's in ministry building this church that's just growing leaps and bounds. It's just taking off. And now I'm competing with not only his job, but with God, because he's doing it for God. But I think what you're talking about is what so many of us face in your 30s.

People are building their careers. They're going for it. We face it as women, but with men, it feels like you've left us behind. We don't matter. You don't see us.

You don't care about us because you're just chasing your dream. And I felt that about Dave. I said the same thing.

I've got nothing. There was a turning point for me. Here's a question I want to ask you guys. I know we're going to talk about work, but we're talking about grace and marriage. And here's the question. You know, Jim Collins, good to great. Years ago, I read it because I'm a pastor. I'm like, I want a great church, not a good church. But I think I'm remembering right. He's one of the guys that said, you can't have both.

You can't have a great work career and a great marriage. You've sort of got to choose. Well, I've got some place.

Some of them, they're counting on that. Yeah, right, right. We tell the story in the book about a guy who I was out fishing with him and I knew him very well. He sold high end memory for big computers for like the IRS, Library of Congress, NASA. And he only made two or three sales a year. But when Payday came, you know, it was a big, big, big number. And they had a small little stipend they would give you. I think he drew eighteen hundred dollars a month with your draw.

And then everything's going to be commissions. But he says, as I was asking about, he says, yeah, I'm kind of an anomaly. I go contrary to what my managers would prefer. I said, what are you talking about? He said, well, my uplines would prefer that we all have a mansion and the highest addresses in town, that our kids all to go to private school, that we all have a second home in the mountains or at the beach, that we buy brand new cars and lease brand new cars every year. And he's going on, he says, and they would prefer that we're divorced and on a second marriage. They want us to have an OK marriage, but they they like a divorce. And I said, what are you talking about? He said, well, they never say it out loud, but they because they want us hungry. They want all of you.

And they know I've got you. And he had a great marriage. He lived in a nice home, but it wasn't, you know, he owned it free and clear. And he left the office at five o'clock every day, no matter what's what's going on. And I mean, this is a high end company.

But the reason they put up with him is because he was either one or two in sales every year. Yeah. Well, that's the question for you guys. Can you have both because we have listeners right now going, I'm killing it at work, but I can't have great marriage. It's just you got to sacrifice somewhere. But I'm looking at two very successful guys. Can you have both who have great families? I would say you can have both, but it's hard to have both.

It has to be a very intentional thing. And what I say, what happened to me and also what I see happen to a lot of people. And it sounds like even in your story, to some extent, right, is there's this this man who adores this woman.

Just there was this great love story as Tim talks about when they fell in love. And it was, you know, this idyllic situation and great, I've met the love of my life. And then you both set out on this journey and we have all these norms and expectations and things we have to live up to. And so I think we pursue those things.

And at some point, if we pursue them too much and too aggressively and too, you know, maniacally, we wake up like I did and realized, oh, my, what have I done? Because I thought I was just providing for this woman I treasure. And then I thought I was trying to be a noble man in her eyes.

And that meant climbing the ladder and get the good title. And I'm providing for my family. I'm doing something that's whether it's whether it's in God's name or just what society says is what a man should do. And so then you wake up one day and you realize, I'm not really loving what I'm doing.

And I'm destroying the thing I do love. And sometimes, in our case, we were almost too far gone. And fortunately, to Tim's point, my wife said, enough, you know, we're going to fix this. And, you know, Christ, he boned my life at the intersection of whatever success and, you know, ego. And fortunately, we were able to then step back and say, OK, let's rewrite the script here.

So I think you can have it both. Did you quit your job? I did. I walked away. You quit your job. We were in counseling and he said, look, you got to make your own decision, but this is not working for you.

One of the last jobs I had as things were coming unwound, I was living in Phoenix with a staff in Manhattan, going to New York 35 times a year for four days a week. And so I was never, and we're having a kid. We just had a baby. And so I'm never home.

And so, well, how are you going to make that work? This woman, you know, she needs you. She's trying to raise a baby and you're never home. That's why when she said you're never home and when you are, you're just a jerk. And so I think you ask a really good question, Dave.

You can have it both, but you got to work really hard. There are all kinds of people who are successfully knocking them dead in the marketplace and also coming home and thriving. But there's a deliberateness about it. And like talking about you guys' marriage, you were writing a love story with this church you were trying to build, but you weren't writing one with your wife. When we get married, we sign up to write a love story. Now, we've all read love stories and there's some rough chapters in any love story.

But the thing that I think sets the love story apart is there's a commitment to maintain pursuit of that other person's heart. And you can do that and still do well at work. But when work tries to put those kind of things on you, you just have to make some hard decisions. Most of the time when people just say to the people, if that's what you're asking, you want me to sacrifice the permanent here, my family, on the altar of the immediate, you, then I choose my family.

And usually they back down because the reason they even wanted that is because they wanted you anyway. But I also think we do well in both is when we actually work hard in both. Michael, was it worth it, quitting your job? Oh, without a doubt, absolutely was worth it. I look at the work that God has done in my life and in my marriage and in my family, and I think about how that story could have played out and how it did play out. I think that's why I'm so passionate about God's grace is I don't deserve to have the family that I do, the marriage that I do, to have such joy at home and have such contentment at work.

I don't deserve that. That's part of the reason that this book was, I feel like God laid this project on my heart was because I really did come to appreciate God's grace, having him pick me up from this real low point. By the way, he walked from that job, but ultimately he got another job. He does well at whatever he does.

Yeah, what are you doing now? He's highly gifted, and so he went to that job. Then from there, we brought him into our ministry for four years to build a dimension of our ministry. And mainly his job was to love people.

We need you to go love these people. And it was in the process, you can tell the story how you started to see how we're running the ministry. Yeah, so like I mentioned before, when I met Tim, Christ is getting a hold of me.

I'm learning about these many facets of grace. And then I go work in an environment where all that is lived out and played out with the staff. What was that like? Was it different? It was great. I mean, I could tell you stories about Tim for sure.

I've worked closely with him for four years. But no, it was really great. I mean, the staff, there was such camaraderie, and we talk about in the book how we had to do hard things. We still expected, people were expected to do their job, and sometimes we had to have hard conversations.

And sometimes we're human, so we're just grumbling and we disagree at times. But just the way that the staff and under Tim's leadership just worked through that, it felt very different than any workplace that I had been in previously. And so that was, I think, was kind of the seed of, hey, what is this whole grace message? Like, I see it in parenting, I see it in marriage, and now I'm experiencing it in a workplace. And then when people would say, hey, you need the translation, because you think this would work in my office? Well, I know it works.

I remember him talking to me about it. He said, boy, you know, I didn't realize, I thought this is something that you are just trying to help people with their marriage and their parenting, but this ministry is a culture of God's grace. I'm thinking, all ministries should be that. All churches should be that. There's nothing great about us.

We're just like everybody else. But then he started, I wonder if this could work in the hard-nosed industry. And then we had a guy in our church who was also in that class. And he is a brilliant CEO. He's the kind of guy that is brought into companies that have enormous upside potential but are struggling. And he writes the ship, he gets everybody in the right seats, gets the people off that don't belong and brings new people on, and he brings the thing up and then it's sold and then he makes a ton of money just by the stocks that they gave him.

And he's a brilliant guy. Well, then he started talking to him about this company he was coming into, and he needed a guy like Michael. And they started talking about, I wonder if we could create a culture of grace in that company that has nothing to do with the church or ministry or Jesus or anything else.

And so they started doing this. And then as we talked more, this is transferable. Well, yeah, and what was interesting about that CEO who I met in that enrichment class right when we stumbled in, so his name's David, and David and I had known each other for a long time. And so as he was thinking about this company and what he wanted to create, he wanted to recast the corporate values. And one of the values that he picked was lead with grace.

And I remember it was funny when we had his executive team together and he was kind of unveiling the values, and then we were going to start to try to kind of define them and wrestle with them. And he pulled me aside and he said, I want you to lead the breakout session on grace, because I don't know that anyone would know what it is. And the funny thing was, there's maybe five of us together, and people started Googling grace, because it was a non-Christian workplace.

And so many people, yeah, everybody's heard the word, they've heard the songs, but they don't really know what it is. So David asked me to lead it because I know you know what it is because of this model that came out of grace-based families. And so that was kind of the start of, in a true workplace, effectively David anointed me and said, hey, be the champion of grace and that value at our company. And so coupling this desire to take this message into the workplace, working at a company in a more senior level where we had the ability to actually pattern it and influence it and teach on it and just be an ambassador for it, it was kind of the perfect storm. It was really a test kitchen or laboratory for, what is grace at work?

I was there for about seven and a half years and really wrestling with it real time, testing some things and saying, no, that's not it, or no, that doesn't work in a secular workplace. But what we really landed on is what is in the book, is just kind of the stuff we've tested in the marketplace and it's really worked and I've really seen it transform lives and change cultures and really bless people. And the good news is, the model that we outline in the book for what God's applied grace looks like in the marketplace is the same one. It looked just like it would in your marriage, just like it would in your parenting relationship, just like the church would have because this isn't some little formula that Tim and Michael can't be.

This is the heart of Jesus. What would you say to the husband? And maybe it's the wife who's listening and they're like, I'm where Michael was.

I'm a workaholic, my job is great, but it's really hurting the most important thing in my life, which is my marriage and my family. I'm not sure what to do. What would you say to him? Either one of you or both of you. Well, let me come back to a principle I just mentioned because it's one of those principles that I have found in my life, if I don't pay attention to this one, it will deal with me one way or the other. Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.

It's just the way life is. Think about our health. If we're just doing things that are neglecting our health, it's not if, it's when.

To not do the hard things that need to be done on behalf of that relationship is going to cost you so much more. One of the points we make in the book is we stop and say, look, I know what you're thinking. Wait a minute, that sounds like a lot of work. And we say, yes, it is, but there's something harder, and that is if you don't do this.

Same thing Michael? Yeah, I think a big thing is just come to grips with the fact that you're probably trying to get something out of your job that it's not designed to give you. And we talk about that in the book quite a bit. And really, then what do you do about that? I think what you do is two things. One is really chase after God and commit to serve others. There's three ways we can look up, we can look out, or we can look in. And what I find many times is people that are really frustrated with their situation are looking too much inwardly and they're not happy with what they're getting from life or their job or their marriage or their whatever. But if you start to say, I'm going to look up at God and pursue Him, I'm going to look out at others and serve them, that just changes things.

It takes the attention off yourself and it puts it where it should rightly be. And over time, then that completely changes the trajectory of your life. You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker on Family Life Today. If you've ever felt like meaningful ministry is out there somewhere, stick around. Dave's got an encouraging word for us in just a second. But first, you can pick up a copy of Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker's book.

It's called Grace at Work, Redeeming the Grind and Glory of Your Job. You can head over to and find a copy there. And if today's conversation has been encouraging for you and it gets you excited about how conversations just like these can get into more homes, more cars, and more AirPods, for families who need the gospel applied to their everyday lives, we'd love it if you'd partner financially with us. And as our thanks, we'd love to send you a copy of Bob and Linda Laudick's book, Simple Money, Rich Life. Their book is our thanks to you when you partner financially with us today. You can give online at or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today.

Okay, here's Dave with an encouraging word specifically for you as a parent. One of the things I had to realize as a pastor or, you know, a man in ministry is loving others. The most important ones were right at my kitchen table. Because I was committed to the Great Commission making disciples and I had to be reminded the most important disciples are literally sitting in your home.

They're not out there. Not that they don't matter. The workplace matters. My fellow employees matter, but Tim's right.

The permanent is your family's really more important than the immediate. Have you ever felt like you don't fit in at work? Maybe toxic people or a boss who just doesn't get you? Well, tomorrow on Family Life Today, David and Wilson are joined again with Michael Tucker and Tim Kimmel to talk about how the toxic culture at work could be a perfect opportunity for God to work in you.

Not them, you. That's tomorrow. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-10 06:29:09 / 2022-11-10 06:42:30 / 13

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