It’s a holiday, and many of you are taking advantage to get some much-needed rest. The truth is, many of us work far too hard. If I had my own way, I would never miss a single morning here with you, my dear friends. Even when I’m ill, I often lie there, just wishing someone would give me a microphone and a camera so I can do my job from my sickbed. I never want to stop doing my job – not even for a second.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about their job. So many of you love what you do and wish you could do it even in your sleep. There are also some of you who work round the clock, not because of passion, but pressure. You hold positions of influence and authority. You control immense resources. You manage the finances of prominent individuals and huge organisations. People depend on you. You alone can see the big picture, and when you’re not there, you’re afraid things will fall apart. 

Or perhaps half of the year has just whizzed by and you’re still behind on your targets. Your job, your promotion, your career, your livelihood depends on you upping your game, and time is running out. Again, I’ve known that feeling before.

But I’m wondering; when was the last time you asked yourself that all-important question: why am I doing this? Why do I wake up five or six times a week at the crack of dawn, before my kids are awake, endure hours of traffic to get to a pressure-cooker of an office where every single stimulus is designed to send my blood pressure skyrocketing? Why do I then stay in this hectic environment so long that by the time I battle my way through even more traffic to get home, my children are already asleep? Why am I doing this?

Your answer probably sounds something like this: “I’m working hard now so I can relax later”. Well, here’s something you didn’t know: in 2014, the leading cause of death among adults in Ghana was Hypertension. It kills through strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure and other serious complications. So if you’re stressing yourself out now so you can relax later, tell me, how easy do you think it is to relax with failed kidneys? 

Really, unless your idea of relaxation is half of your body being paralysed due to stroke, then perhaps you ought to pause every now and then, take a break, and actually spend time with your family. Take a week off, take a trip, take a minute to catch your breath and recharge your batteries. You’ve had your head down so long, grinding away. It’s time to lift your head up, look around you and see how far God has brought you.

Just stop for a minute. It just might save your life.

Someone sent me a poem. It’s supposed to be written by a teenage girl who was dying of cancer in a New York hospital. I’ve not been able to find the girl’s name, but I do want to share her words with all of you this morning. She titled it “Slow Dance”.

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child, 
‘We’ll do it tomorrow’?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die 
Cause you never had time 
To call and say, ‘Hi’

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower 
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and whatever you do, never forget why you do it.