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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What is the True Value of Work?

Recently, I read an article written by a young woman about how her generation needs to "NOT get their act together."  It really got me thinking about life, how I raised my kids, our dreams and expectations...their's. 

I came from a lower income family and learned many lessons, like money doesn't bring you happiness, work hard to get the things you want, family is more important than possessions.  When my husband and I got married at 19 and 20, we also had to work hard, working 2 or 3 jobs sometimes.  We had dreams and goals.  But, we knew in order to achieve those goals, it would require good decisions, wise planning, and realistic expectations.  I worked really hard to instill these values in my own children and, I think, we did well teaching them the value of money, a good work ethic, having faith, trusting in God. 

Sometimes I get a sense that the young people these days have this idea that life is all about what makes one happy.  I feel we do an injustice to our children when we teach them to do what makes you feel good, whatever makes you happy.  Life isn't about happiness, it's ultimately about being used by God in whatever purpose He chooses.  Though, you hear it taught in the schools..."Find your dream, follow your dream."  Well, I hate to say it, but a lot of kids have dreams that will never be attained no matter how hard they want it, try for it, or we push them toward it.  The high school football star that will never get picked up by the pros, the dancer or actress who won't make it to Broadway or the movies, the singer who's one in a million trying to break into the big times.  I think it's a nice idea, but we set them up for failure and disappointment.  It doesn't hurt to try to reach for a dream, but at some point when it's not going well, to know when to start on a different path.  We are all blessed with numerous skills and it may be the one that is the least appealing to us that is the one God wants to use.

Work is about work, getting paid so that you can support yourself, pay the bills, not be a burden to society, and prepare for your future.  Where did this concept come from that money isn't important?  Young people say it all the time.  No, it's not everything, but it is a great many things...

it very well makes the world go round,
it takes care of the sick, feeds the hungry, and provides for the orphaned,
it, if saved well, protects and cares for us when we are old and unable to work,
it allows young people the opportunity to try to attain those dreams, to obtain careers, to get college degrees,
it helps missionaries go around the world spreading the gospel and helping those in need,
it provides a child with a new lung and a man with a new heart,
it allows the church to continue it's mission and reach many lost people. 

What kind of world would it be if there weren't those who had lots of it and contributed lots of it to so many causes?  I look at money as a great blessing, the more God allows us to make, the more we have to give away!  And, you are doubly blessed if you are able to find work/career that makes you happy. 

However, we were never guaranteed that our "work" was all about what makes us happy.  To some, yes, it may come naturally, but to most others, it won't.   Sometimes, people are really good at something, but overlook great opportunities because they don't feel "happy" doing it.  God never promised us pleasure in our work.  Life wasn't meant to be a ride of indulgences and self-pleasure.  I doubt back in the day very many people were truly happy doing manual labor.  But, we need to remember that if in all things we are thankful to our God, He will bless us and we can be joyous in all things.  If life were all about our happiness, God would not have allowed the things into this world that hurt...disease, heartache, pain.  I truly believe God expected work to be just   He sent Adam and Eve out of the garden and established that man would "work."  I'm sure Adam didn't gain great happiness in toiling the soil, but I can bet you he was grateful to the God who gave him the ability to provide and care for his family and the land to harvest, making him a very joyous man.  And if you are joyous, then you can be truly happy.

Getting your act together doesn't mean you can't enjoy life or do the things you love.  It simply means being mature, making wise decisions, making plans and following through with your plans, saving for the future, and establishing a career that will result in enough money to do ALL the things you want. Without money there will be no traveling, meeting friends in other places, supporting your causes, following your passions, making your dreams come true, collecting experiences.  You cannot have a life full of all these things without working hard to get there!  Stop "chasing" the dreams and get a career that will make them all come true!
My prayer for my kids and their spouses is that above all they are grateful and thankful for the life God has given them even if it means they are doing something they don't necessarily like.  That their happiness comes from within a place of contentment.  That no matter what their circumstances, they have joy!

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