Growing up, I was engaged in a culture that taught to be successful, you have to do everything within yourself to have a huge career, so that you can make big money, so that you can put it away for retirement, so that you can have all the best things, etc., etc., etc. Now, that may sound really superficial, but if you really stop to think about it, that’s what society teaches everyday.
It’s kind of like this inbred philosophy you learn as you grow when you see things happen around you. You see families where the Dad is never home to play with his children, because he is always at work. You see the Mom who is constantly pulled between working to meet the budget, or making the children’s school awards assembly. You see more emphasis put on our IRA’s and 401K’s than our SRP’s (Spiritual Retirement Plans). Simply put…you see a world that puts more emphasis on money than any other “valuable” thing.
I began working while I was in high school. From there, I fought hard and worked fast in order to prove myself, and eventually moved up and up the corporate ladder where I had what most would call a very good career. With continuing opportunity for advancement, I was making good money, eligible for good bonuses, had an officer title in the company, received countless pats on the back, and was really feeling successful at the age of 23. However, God began working on me and telling me that my view of success was all distorted.
He began to show me that it was not right that I was getting home from work after my daughters were already tucked in bed. He began showing me that it was not all about the “almighty dollar”, that I didn’t have to work in vain toward securing my own future (retirement), when He was in control. My “valid” reasons and justification for the overtime, company meetings, regional parties, networking among my peers, and office politics were not the reason for my life.
When the world continues to tell you that it is all about “You”, and that your future and success depends solely upon “You”, I hope you will stop to listen to what God says about it. It has made a profound effect upon my life:
“…wisdom brings success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10
“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.” Proverbs 4:7
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
“…and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; … But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” ” 1 Corinthians 1:27, 30-31
The reason why we are here is to bring glory to God, and to work toward saving others through Jesus Christ! God does not intend for us to be consumed by making all the money we can for ourselves. “…but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” Ephesians 4:28
The world (including some in my extended family) thinks I am crazy for leaving my job to care for my children. The world (including some in my church) thinks that we are poor, living in a self-made poverty among the “land of opportunity”. The world (including some in my town) believes that fame and fortune supersede the benefits of sacrifice.
Now that I am a “homemaker” and not next in line for “Branch Manager”, I am constantly amazed at how God really does provide. We have not suffered. We have eaten every meal (and then some!). My children are happy. My husband and I are agreed upon our future. My bank account has never been overdrawn. My bills are being payed. My future is secure. And, for the first time in my life, I feel myself really depending on God to meet our needs, and it feels great!
His promises of provision are true. Words like love, and grace, and honesty, and integrity, and purpose are “valued” much more than words like dollar, and prestige, and power, and control.
Now, I know there is the “flip” side to my situation. I am not saying that we should not work toward bettering our financial and provisional circumstances. There are many families who are unable to do what we are doing. It is a tough, hard world where it takes alot to make ends meet. Many mothers are not able to be at home. Many fathers have to work long, hard hours. Some have to be the “executive”, and things like networking, communication, productivity and extraordinary commitment to a job is a necessary and commendable attribute. The point I am trying to make is this: our emphasis and priorities should be on the things of God, rather than our self-reliance to “succeed”.
When we “die to self”, and allow God to control all aspects of our lives, He then can show us that He means “business”! Unfortunately, it is usually in the area of money that we fail to let go and let God lead.