When I was a child there was a commercial on television marketing a new thing in fast food restaurants, the drive through. Like all commercials it had a theme song. That theme song went like this. “Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed; get up, go to work, come home, go to bed………” On and on it went, repeating itself in a sing-song fashion. The idea of the commercial was extol the benefits of starting your day with a fresh, hot breakfast that you could eat in your car while you drove to work. The line in the drive through went around the building and people availed themselves of this new trend day in and day out as they hurried to their jobs in the rat race in the city. That trend has become commonplace in today’s world so that we become impatient if the fast food line doesn’t move fast enough.
Even as a child I remember thinking, “What an awful way to live, doing the same thing, day in, day out, without any change, with your entire focus in life only on your work.”
A few years ago a supervisor where I worked was promoted to manager and as part of her promotion brought each of her employees in to her office to discuss their career plans. When she brought me in she asked me, “Mina, why do you work? Do you work to live or do you live to work?” Then she went on to say, “For myself, I live to work.”
I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from telling her how sorry I was that she felt that way. Instead I told her that I work to live. I don’t think that’s what she wanted to hear but that was truly how I felt. It’s still how I feel. Regardless of what type of job I work my work is only one part of my life. There is an old childhood rhyme that said, “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.” Simply put, if all we do is work even work that we love then our lives are narrow and limited and dull.
God created us to have full lives. He created us with talents and skills, with needs and desires, and with goals and plans to meet both personal and professional. In my own life I have family I adore, my God to serve, a job that provides and talents I am developing. I cannot imagine any of these parts of my life missing.
A life lived without people you care about is void of love. A life lived without a relationship with your God is void of purpose. A life lived without a means to earn a living is destined to poverty and want. A life lived without developing your own unique talents is destined to drudgery.
Why do I work? I work my job to provide income to live. Life requires a means of financial support for food, clothing and shelter. But, living is more than working a job. Living must include people you love. Love is something that blesses both the one who loves and the one who is loved. Whether it is blood relations or people who have chosen to love one another the human heart requires the sharing of love with others. Without love the human heart will surely die.
Living must include having a relationship with your God. How can you live and not have a relationship with the one who gave you life, gave you strength, gave you every ounce of who and what you are? I can’t imagine life without my creator God, without my Savior Jesus and without my Holy Spirit Comforter to teach me, guide me and comfort me through all of life’s challenges. Without a relationship with God the human spirit will surely die.
Living must include developing your own unique talents, whatever they may be. Each of us is born with certain innate, unique talents, talents that are as natural to us as breathing. Some of us are gifted in the arts; some in building and planning, some in leadership. But, whatever our area of giftedness we must develop that gifting if we are to become everything that God created us to be. Without developing our unique gifts and talents the human character will surely die.
So, my faithful readers, why do you work?