Money and work
When I graduated about two years ago, I bought a topical Bible study guide on “Money & Work” (it’s cheap!) and did some of the studies during those first few months of work. Recently I picked up the studies again and compared my answers from then and now. And surprised myself!
At the time, I so did not want to work and even wrote some ill-disguised stories about wanting to run away, or curl in bed and sleep forever. I needed to be warned against idleness and reminded about the purpose of work.
But we urge you, brothers… to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Doing the same studies, I realised that for whatever reasons, somewhere and somehow I’ve come to overvalue rather than undervalue work and career. That at times, I even need to remind myself to leave time and space for other things. Well, the reasons are many, but it’s the usual suspects – the influence of peers and the profession, desire for recognition or money, tendency towards finding our identity in something other than God, and using work to escape from other life problems. When I had an absolute aversion to work, I needed to be reminded of who I was working for. And yet, I need the very same reminder, when I have a tendency to build my life around work.
Comparing the answers I jotted down, I also discovered that I had very little interest in money at the end of university. I knew that I found meaning in the tiresome days and got through them at all, because of God. As such, I was more than happy to acknowledge that rather than the money belonging to me, I was a steward of what God has given me. That made the ideas of offering of what I’ve decided to give (2 Corinthians 9:7) and working so that I had something to share with others (Ephesians 4:28) relatively straightforward ones to accept.
“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” – Deuteronomy 8:17
But with my growing interest in work comes the danger of having a growing interest in money too, if I forget that godliness with contentment is great gain. Besides, after working for awhile it’s easy to feel that if you’ve worked hard, everything in the bank is yours and yours only. Anyway, the lesson from re-doing these studies is that age may make us wiser in the ways of the world but doesn’t necessarily come with greater godly wisdom.
One final observation – my handwriting has become messier, and less pleasant. But still legible.