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Your Money Or Your (Spiritual) Life

July 13, 2010

It’s nice to make money, isn’t it?

Now don’t give me that look.

A healthy desire to make money does not necessarily imply greed, or obsession, or that one is dedicating one’s life to serving the dreaded Mammon. All I’m saying is, as a practical matter, having money sure does come in handy. In fact, it is pretty much a requirement these days for getting around in our 21st century Western culture.

When choosing a career, I kept this important little detail in mind as I aspired to earn a decent living, with an equally strong intention toards doing something that I liked and was also good at.  

What could possibly be wrong with that?

The problem I encountered as a young Christian man, however, was that I often detected a quiet disapproval coming from the church when it came to having a genuine interest in pursuing a “secular” career. I felt a gnawing sense that any desire to earn a solid income was somehow the antithesis of spirituality, associated instead with selfishness, materialism, worldliness and cutthroat-ism.

Growing up, the evangelical church taught me that the only ambition God was truly pleased with was the passion for making disciples, missions, service, or leading others to Christ. So if you had a sincere spiritual desire to seek out God’s plan for your life, then by default your primary vocation was going to be a disciple-maker. Just like Jesus (the missionary Jesus, not the working-for-the-family-business carpenter Jesus).

But what if I am not “called” to that? What if my gifts, talents and personality are better suited for business pursuits? I struggled with this for years as I developed a career in management consulting, and then eventually found my way to a corporate executive position.

High Calling Blogger Larry Peabody addresses this and many other sticky issues of integrating our faith with our work in a series called “Religious Ruts in Your Work World.” His recent post (Part 15), talks about this specific question of whether a good Christian can also have a good job. “Scripture makes it clear,” he says, “that God applauds (not just allows) working to earn.”

Well, that’s a relief. Because God help us all if He doesn’t.

Click here to continue reading the post at The High Calling Blogs.

Photo by Sam Mugraby. Used with permission.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 10:36 am

    The whole ‘pursuit of mammon’ is a plague that hits many people. After all, money funds our families, our leisure and our retirement. But long ago, I made the pledge to never take or pursue a job just for the money. So my decisions have always been made for other reason — and I’ve never been disappointed.

    David

  2. July 13, 2010 11:25 am

    earning money is different than loving money.

  3. July 13, 2010 11:38 am

    Hey Bradley,

    Excellent article. I respect your message. The internal drive for money can not be allowed to accelerate out of control. At the same time, what would we do with ourselves without commerce?

    You may find this article quite fascinating; http://www.inc.com/magazine/19960501/1651.html.

    It is by Steven Berglas – a very thoughful friend.

  4. July 14, 2010 9:02 am

    Way too many people have been “dissed” by a church’s poor response to “secular” work. I think this stems in part, from two sources: the false dichotomy of clergy/laity; and the embarassment of the pastor to address money matters from the pulpit. Francis Schaffer really adresses the core of these two errors in his classic book True Spirituality.

  5. July 15, 2010 5:37 pm

    Thanks for your comment. This is a blog that I can really benefit from, so glad I found you. Am planning on jumping around the listed sites (and also checking out a few of the posts you mentioned on “calling”) — hopefully when I have more time this weekend! Your wife sounds like a wise woman.

  6. July 15, 2010 6:41 pm

    And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 Whether you’re a CEO or a missionary the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. But I will say that such a love can’t help but lead to the kind of sacrificial life that will put you desires out of lockstep with the world. Good post.

    Brad

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