On average, we spend 92 000 hours of our life at work. Needless to say that if we don’t enjoy our job and it doesn’t give us a sense of purpose, we are wasting precious time chasing after less important things.
So many people I talk to are in a job just because of the money. According to them, leaving a job just because it doesn’t give you a real sense of purpose, isn’t a good enough reason. In fact, it is seen as being very irresponsible. Ultimately, most of us work because we need to pay the bills. If you had millions stashed away somewhere, wouldn’t you sleep later, travel more and be more relaxed? Wouldn’t you run away from the rat race?
Ultimately, most of the bills we have are not because of need, but greed. We don’t need the big house in the nice neighbourhood. We don’t need the flash car and the fancy clothes. We don’t need the outrageous holidays and the big bank balance. We want all these things because that’s what portrays us as being successful. And it all boils down to how others see us. That plastic lifestyle paid for with plastic cards leads to an artificial belief of what’s really important in life.
I have friends who have a ridiculous amounts of money. They can go wherever they want and do whatever they want, yet I wouldn’t trade places with them. I must admit, there are times when I wish I did have a bit of their money to be able to do the finer things in life. But it’s difficult for me to justify a “fine” meal in an expensive restaurant when 36 000 000 people will starve to death this year because they don’t even have a piece of dry bread to eat. I cannot justify living in a fancy house when 100 000 000 people don’t have a place to call home. It’s impossible to feel “okay” about living frivolously when 3 000 000 000 people are trying to stay alive on less than $2.50.
Agreed that some of these people are capable of improving their lives by doing something about their situation. Many people are in the position they find themselves because of choice. I am not referring to them. I am talking about people who are living in countries where their dire straits are due to war, famine and things that they can’t change or control. We love to turn a blind eye to the suffering that is happening around the world. We might feel bad about it for a few seconds but convince ourselves there’s nothing we can do. We don’t see it as our problem. Nationalism makes us want to look after “our own”. That’s not a bad thing, but in 1st world countries where the government does so much for their citizens, the needs are minuscule.
It was recently suggested to me that our jobs are merely there to earn us some money. We have responsibilities and bills to pay. The things we really want to do to make a difference in the world needs to be done in the few hours a week we might have free when we aren’t working or spending time with our families or sleeping or eating … That doesn’t leave too much time for the homeless and starving and child slaves and abuse victims and widows and the broken. That suggestion tells those who are struggling that their life-or-death needs don’t really have priority over my own unnecessary wants for more?
I say no! Who am I to think that my own greed is more important than a starving child’s life? How can I ever be so self-centred to believe that my desire for more has priority over a 5-year-old girl sold into the sex industry? As Christians we MUST love our neighbours. Our neighbours are not only those who live in our fancy neighbourhoods and drive their over-priced cars. Our neighbours are the starving in Africa, the child labourers in Asia, the addicts in the Americas, the destitute in Europe and the lonely in Australia. As Christians our neighbourhood is the entire world. Because Jesus died for every single human being, I need to live for every single human being.
What are we doing? What are our priorities? Are you and I willing to allocate 92 000 hours of our lives to something that is only improving our own bank balance, or are we willing to step out in faith and do something that we truly believe is our purpose? When God calls us, He will always honour our obedience when we step out in faith and trust Him. Let’s go and be the difference we want to see in the world without worrying too much about the details. He’s got this covered!