Do you work to live or live to work? Is your work valued based on the size of your paycheck? How will we know when we’re doing what we were created to do?
These are all questions I have pondered at one time or another.
WORK TO LIVE
When I was a teenager I thought of work as a tedious but necessary activity. I needed money for my social life and for college, so I babysat, worked at a carry out Chinese restaurant and various retail establishments. During college my work in a factory during the summer was still nothing more than a means to an end. I remember a very nice woman who repeatedly told me how lucky I was to be going to college so that I would be able to live to work instead of work to live.
LIVE TO WORK
After college I gulped and got a real job, and I enjoyed it. It was challenging, sometimes frustrating but overall satisfying. My husband and I would go out for dinner on Friday nights and talk over our weeks, our jobs, because that’s where we spent most of our time.
IS WORK ONLY VALUABLE IF IT COMES WITH A PAYCHECK?
Since then I have been a full-time mom and part-time volunteer, and more recently a full-time volunteer. Meanwhile, my husband had the opportunity to leave the work force to figure out what he really wanted to do. More volunteering. More pondering. He went to seminary and earned a Master of Divinity. More volunteering.
If the answer to the above question is “yes,” then we have wasted an awful lot of time. If, however, it is “no,” then we have sacrificed some wealth on earth for treasures in heaven. We’re banking on the latter.
HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE’RE DOING WHAT WE WERE CREATED TO DO?
This is by far the trickiest question to answer. It is a first world problem for sure, so we should be thankful to have the time and ability to ponder that conundrum. I am grateful, but that doesn’t make the puzzle any easier to solve.
My husband and I are entering a new phase of our work lives. Dan started a new job yesterday which may not seem like a terribly big deal, but trust me it is. It is another step in his work life, and I believe that it will lead him to what he was created to do.
As for me, I’m moving into a new role at Community Bible Study which will be a challenge and will also leave me with some extra time. Now I’m pondering. And praying.
Through it all I have learned that work is valuable, no matter the size of the paycheck. I need to work, because I am happier and more fulfilled when I do. I have always felt that time is our most valuable resource, and therefore we should use it well.
What are your perspectives on work?