It seems that so often when we share the message of working for God/Love rather than working for Money, people inevitably regard it as some sort of bad news. “It won’t work”, they say, “and besides, even if it did, it could only be possible if everyone did it”. Aside from the fact that they haven’t tried it themselves to determine whether their pessimistic dismissal is true or not, (which is referred to as contempt prior to investigation) they are also overlooking the simple fact that the person sharing the concepts with them is actually living it!
In their defense, however, Jesus’ vision is deeply liberating yet admittedly challenging, but maybe we could do a better job of presenting these teachings to the public, as well as to our closer friends and family. We’re definitely in favor of trying harder to share the love of Christ (as recorded in the gospels) in as positive a light as possible.
Gospel actually means “good news, and when he first shared it, Christ was positively (and seditiously!) subverting the decrees and terminology of the Roman empire favorably for the “meek” and oppressed of his world (as well as ours now), showing them that an entirely different social order was possible, built only on love and self-sacrificing service without any need for money, rather what we still see all around us—greed and status-seeking & all the destruction that ensues from that worldview.
Not only was he doing a masterful job of taking the actual bad news of the empire(s) and turning into something hopeful for the poor masses of all times and places, Christ invited people to start living this new way of life right now, rather than some future utopia: “Thy (God’s) will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
But what if it is actually a response of fear or something else which makes people think it is some sort of denial of “living life to the fullest” when we teach that there is absolute freedom in living and working for God instead of a paycheck?
I was sharing this particular teaching of Jesus (Matthew 6:24-33) with a professed christian yesterday, and while she seemed somewhat open to seeing the benefit of choosing to work for God instead of money, it became clear that fear was the number one factor she kept returning to in our conversation. She admitted that she had never heard this teaching in all her years in the church (most haven’t), but that she could obviously see how clear Jesus was on this matter.
The number one fear that tends to accompany people’s initial reaction to this subject is typically summed up as this: without a job that pays, how can we live in this world?
I can understand this fear, although I believe it absolutely unfounded. I asked her to think of people she has known who had suddenly lost their job due to a variety of reasons. She was able to think of a few people in her life who this had happened to. I then asked her if she believed there was some kind of “faith” that people have in their jobs that they will be provided for, taken care of. She again admitted that people do commonly trust in their jobs to provide security for themselves and their families. I then asked if this could possibly be a misplaced “faith.” She wholeheartedly agreed.
Think about it: most people assume their job or career is going to be there for them, day after day and year after year, thereby taking care of their needs (and wants). Isn’t that assumption an aspect of faith? Have their companies and bosses guaranteed all of them that the bottom-line of profit would never cost them their job? The flip-side to this is that there are also a LOT of people who are in constant fear/anxiety that they could lose their jobs at any time. On top of all that, there are so many people in the world who are either unable to find work or are unable to work due to disability.
If in times of great economic uncertainty where there is a widespread belief that jobs are both scarce and easy to lose, wouldn’t it ultimately be better to have our faith placed in something that we can truly count on? Something that isn’t so easily shaken by such things as profit motives sending jobs elsewhere and downsizing so that the CEO’s can have an even bigger paycheck?
We have found that in all of our collective years of traveling the States or the globe, we have not had to worry about the state of the economy in whatever country we happened to find ourselves in. Because we are so content to live a very simple lifestyle, (wink-wink, nudge-nudge!) we have found freedom that others wish for, but are simply afraid to take that first step of faith in order to experience the same.
Our job of working for God/Love by sharing the teachings of Jesus with the world is never in danger of being “downsized” or “outsourced!” Jesus had the audacity to promise that if we work for God then God is responsible for taking care of us, and we can’t imagine a better Employer who has never let us down. Love ALWAYS wins!