17 Teves is the yartzeit of R' Yaakov ben Zev Wolf Kranz ZY"A(1804), the legendary Dubno Magid. He was once asked by R' Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna ZY"A, to give him mussar. The Dubno Magid refused, saying, who is he to give musar to the holy Vilna Gaon. The Gaon insisted until the Magid agreed. He said something along the lines of the following: "You get to sit all day indoors learning Torah and davening. What's so difficult about that? You don't have to spend time in the marketplaces with the tests of being honest in business and seeing things in the streets. How well would you fare there?" The holy Gaon broke down crying and said: "You're right. That would be more difficult."
The lesson from this is that if we do spend our time in the "outside" world and pass the many tests that we get, we are really accomplishing a huge amount in the spiritual realm. It's not just working anymore but Avodas HaKodesh.