Money is important and so is finding your purpose and answering God’s commission for us. We need money to live and we need money to do fun things. We use money for all our purchases. I think Jesus talks so much about money because humans have a tendency to transfer our focus from our real goals of service and sustenance to gathering and hoarding funds.
Where do you want to end up? In the end, I’d rather have less money and have the approval of God than have more money and be cut out of the final celebration. Jesus tells many parables regarding money. The one that impacts me the most is where the master tells the servant ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ (Matthew 25:21 NLT )
I would like God to tell me I did a job well. Who wouldn’t? I’ve not had many opportunities for this to happen in my life. Each time it has happened, I’ve loved it. It feels great. In every situation, with more responsibility comes more rewards and vice versa. The two go hand in hand.
The servant who did not perform, who hid the money, was thrown into “outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:28 NLT. Pretty sure that’s hell. That’s a pretty harsh consequence. I don’t think we realize how important following our two rules really is.
The other version of this parable is found in Luke and it adds on “to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” Luke 19:26 NLT. The king took what had been given to this servant and gave it to the one who made the most money. He wanted the greatest return, from the most reliable servant. (Read the entire parable in Luke 19:11-26)
Jesus often told parables about harvesting and sowing. I ran across Matthew 9:35-38 and Luke 10:1-20 which is Jesus telling disciples “the harvest is great, but the workers are few.” Luke 10:2, Matthew 9:37 NLT.
Connect this with the parable of the scattered seed in Matthew 13 and Luke 8. In this parable, the seed that was scattered on fertile soil “produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Matthew 13:8 NLT. This is the great harvest. Imagine having planted seeds enough for five pumpkins or watermelons in your tiny garden and having a yield of fifty. You’d call your friends over to harvest them and enjoy the fruits of this labor, wouldn’t you? I would.
That is what happens when we fulfill our kingdom purpose in the calling of the Great Commission. (Read Matthew 28:18-20) God does not want us to be poor, unable to care for ourselves, mismanaging the resources that he’s given to us. He does not want us to be depressed and burnt out, chasing the wrong things; hopeless because money has taken his place. He wants us to have a rich harvest, he will bless us greatly when we answer the call and serve our Kingdom purpose.
What is a Kingdom purpose? It’s the purpose we serve in the church – what Paul refers to as the body of Christ. “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 NLT. He goes on to explain there are many parts of the human body and each is needed to make the body function well. The same is true of the body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians, the list includes apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, helping, leadership, languages. (1 Corinthians 12:28) In Romans he lists prophecy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing kindness. (Romans 12:6-8) There is a similar list in Ephesians 4:11-13. You can read a prior post about identifying your gifts and finding your purpose here.
Whatever you’re doing right now, do it well. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 NLT. The verse that precedes this verse references slavery. We aren’t slaves but we’re often stuck in jobs we don’t like, working for bosses we don’t get along with, to pay for stuff we don’t want anymore. We sell our time, energy, and resources for money.
We want a way out but we don’t want things to change. We think that more money is the answer. Often we choose a career path because it gives us a good income, it’s prestigious, it’s an adventurous lifestyle or some other reason. The problem is maybe the career path we chose when we were young doesn’t serve us later in life. When these happen what do we do?
Do you want money or do you want to be happy? Have you ever thought that if you just had more money, you would enjoy life more? Have you daydreamed about winning the lottery and all the cool things you’d be able to do? I used to think that I wanted more money, that I wasn’t a real lawyer because I wasn’t making enough money, and that I wanted to go work for someone else so I could make more money.
In 2019, I took a job so that I could have a paycheck. I thought the paycheck would make me happy. It didn’t. Almost everything became pointless. In 2020, when the boss asked me to do more work, in the same amount of time, I decided that money wasn’t enough for me to stay. So I left and ended up spending 2020 finishing a book that I hadn’t touched in a year and starting this blog.
I began 2020 exhausted. I left the job in January with the plan to do some work, get married, honeymoon, and return to work. It took three months to recuperate from my burnout and exhaustion. I planned to return to work by mid-year but quarantine made it impossible.
Now, I find that most of the time, I don’t want to go back to lawyering. The only time that I want to is when I think about working for a place that matters like legal aid or a non-profit. I find that I want to make a difference with my law degree.
What I really wanted was to have less stress, more margin in my finances, and serve better. What I ended up with was more stress, less margin in my time and in my life, and I was serving no one. I thought I was getting what I wanted but I already had everything that I wanted. What I really wanted was happiness.
When you know where you want to end up, you can adjust your starting point. I don’t have a five-step plan for happiness but I am spending this entire year searching for it. Not everyone is in the position to leave their job, to change their entire life, to uproot and make massive changes. Still, we can figure out a way to make life better.
Start with a list of things you enjoy the absolute most. Make a list of your skills, the things that you’re really good at. Think about the things that you get lost in and the things that seem like time flies when you do them. Look at the list – where do they overlap? Pull those to a separate list. Now, look around for a job that has a set of skills similar to the items on the last list.
If you can’t find one, write a job description for your job. What would your job look like? What atmosphere would you like to work in? What is your personality? Create the perfect job for yourself. From here, you can gain or improve the skills that you need, make changes in your life (spending less, saving more, downsizing, etc) so that you can transition.
You can work after work on creating, investigating, researching, and adjusting your life. I did not do these steps until after I left my job. It was a mistake in some ways and in others, it was not. By the time I left my job, I knew that I needed to leave and I knew I needed to write my book. The part I didn’t know about was the 2020 pandemic and quarantine followed by a recessed job market.
When we’re burned out, we’re depressed. Life seems like it’s unbearable. It seems as if everything is negative. When we chase money for so long it may seem like we can’t choose a different path. When we do things a specific way for so many years, we become blinded to how different things could actually be.
What do you think? Are you ready to change your life, your perspective, your day job? Do you want to stay right where you’re at and not change a thing? Write a comment below and join the conversation. I’d love to hear from you.