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Keepers at Home

Making a Living

What does God say about "making a living?"

Home | Introduction | Making a Living | Keepers at Home | In the Beginning... | The Virtuous Woman | The Woman's Role | Final Thoughts

"MAKING A LIVING"

The number of women that work outside the home is at the highest rate it has ever been in our society.  The number of women in the Church who work outside the home is also at its highest level ever.  The majority of women I meet in the Church have jobs, or careers, or work outside the home.  It is a rare thing to find a Christian woman who is a homemaker.  And what is interesting is that 30-50 years ago this was not the case at all.  The majority of women, all women, were homemakers.  Should this be a big deal?  Is it a problem?  Is there any harm in having our women work full-time jobs outside the home?

First, we have to ask why this changed.  And why in the last couple of generations did it change?  Why do our Christian women hold jobs outside the home?  And is it really something the Bible addresses?  Is it something we really need to be concerned about? 

So, why did this change?  Some say it's the "cost of living," or it's just the way our society works now and we have to go along with it.  Some even say that there is no way to make "it" without two incomes anymore.  Is that true?  Has our society evolved to that point?  All men and women must work to make "it?"  And just exactly what is "it," anyway?  If we examine the scriptures, we might find that our view of "it" and God's view are two very different things.

Statistics show that if you possess a vehicle, home with air conditioning, and a one-income job that receives regular promotions, you are in the upper 15% of the world's wealthy.  If you have two incomes, possess two vehicles, have a home with air conditioning, and the jobs receive regular promotions, you are in the upper 5% of the world's wealthy.  Where do we fit in the statistics?

This idea of making a living is very consuming to some people; in fact, some Christians' entire lives center on this concept.  Why is it that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ panic over making a living?  It almost seems like many of our brethren react like the rest of the world when it comes to making money.  And I say "making money" because that's what we're really saying when we utter the words "making a living."  And, of course, it stands to reason that each generation has a new definition of this term.  The phrase "making a living" does not have the same meaning that it had to people 40-50 years ago.

Matthew 6:19-34 is a good place to start when studying about what God thinks about "making a living."  Mt. 6:19-34:

 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth

and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and

steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where

neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not

break through nor steal:  For where you treasure is, there will

your heart be also.  The light of the body is the eye:  if

therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of

light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of

darkness.  If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how

great is that darkness!  No man can serve two masters:  for

either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will

hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God

and mammon.  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for

your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for

your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat,

and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air:  for

they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet

your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better

than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit

unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment? 

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not,

neither do they spin:  And yet I say unto you, That even

Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day

is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more

clothe you, O he of little faith?  Therefore take no thought,

saying, What shall we eat?  or, What shall we drink?  or,

Wherefore withal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these

things do the Gentiles seek:)  for your heavenly Father

knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first

the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things

shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the

morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of

itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ states directly and plainly about "making a living."  For Christians this passage should be very clear.  What is Jesus saying to the people?  He makes it very plain that spiritual people have other things to be concerned with besides food, clothing, and shelter (being implied).  Are these things important?  Yes, of course they are.  We are not here to teach otherwise.  Without these things we would not survive.  However, are there other things that rank higher than these things?  Oh, yes.  The will of God.  What is more important than that?

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  Now, what does that mean?  Simply-- obey God's will and all earthly necessities He will provide.  Jesus is telling us how to prioritize our lives right here in this verse (33).  God is to be first in our lives.  And Christians are to profess this.  But is it really true?  Is He first in all that we do?  Do we utter this, but have little follow-through, or, do we truly live this day by day?  If so, our actions will speak volumes, where our words will hardly be noticed and even silent.  The Son of God states our goal in life--for us as Christians--is to seek God's kingdom.  For the Christian that is the single factor that motivates our lives.  It is all we desire.  It is all that we are.  Ecclesiastes 12:13 states it this way:  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

At the beginning of the reading (Mt. 6:19) Jesus tells the people there:  "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth. . ."  Earthly wealth and gain to the Christian should be absolutely meaningless.  Christians aren't interested in that.  Well, we're not supposed to be.  How many of us work all our lives--with our wives working, too--to lay up accounts full of money, deeds of property, furnishings, vehicles, etc., so that we can will them to our children?  So many people are concerned with working so hard to leave "something" to their kids or grandkids.  Is this really the thing we should be concerned about?  And what usually happens to the "stuff" that's willed off, anyway?  Sometimes it's fought over, sold off, and many times it's completely forgotten.  And what kind of "legacy" have we left then?

The Lord tells us in the next verse (20) "to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" and focus on those things.  How many people work hard to provide spiritual teaching of God's word to their children?  Hopefully, all Christians do that.  But, remember our children see in us just what is important in our lives.  If it's earthly things, then that type of thinking will pass onto our children.  If it's God and His will for us, then that type of thinking will be passed onto our children.  The next verse (21) says it all:  "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  Where is our treasure?  Is it on earthly things?  Do we ask our wives to work to help supply all those "things" we feel necessary to get along in life?  If so, that is where our treasure is.  If not, we will work hard to supply spiritual understanding for ourselves and our families. 

Does this mean that we are not supposed to work at all?  No.  That is not what the scriptures teach; however, the Lord states that there are things we need to be more concerned with than food and clothing.  And the reason we start here in our study is to try and understand why we do the things we do concerning "providing for our family."  Do we compromise our Christianity to lay up treasures upon the earth?  Do we compromise our roles as Christian men and Christian women?  If we are, then that activity must cease.

The Lord goes on in verses 22-23 stating that people are either going to be focused on good things or on evil things.  These two verses follow right after:  "For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also."  These two verses reiterate the fact that man has one thing in his life that all other items center around.  Jesus says "if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."  This describes someone who is focused on God and his will--on good things.  He also says (23):  "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness."  This refers to someone whose treasure is on the wrong thing.  It is not on God.

And verse 24 further explains this concept of what our treasure should be.  This verse is very well known in the Christian brotherhood.  We cannot serve two masters as the verse says.  "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."  All people on the earth must make a choice.  Jesus gives us the two areas to choose from:  God or earthly gain.  As Christians we know which one to choose. 

Verses 25-32 go into greater detail about being concerned with earthly needs.  Jesus makes a comparison between God's people and the birds of the air (26); He says that they are provided for by God--"Are ye not much better than they?" he states.  The main focus of the passage is telling us not to worry, or be so concerned about obtaining earthly needs, such as food and clothing.  In verse 25 He tells us to "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink."  For Christians these things are provided for by the Father.  If we know and understand and trust in that, we will truly be focused on spiritual things and not the carnal.  We will think only of how to serve our Father in Heaven.  In verse 28 He asks "And why take ye thought for raiment?"  Why even worry about having clothes on our back?  Jesus says that the lilies of the field are arrayed better than Solomon was in all his glory.  In verse 30 he continues:  "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"  God taking care of this need is the meaning in these words spoken by the Savior.  The Father knows our needs and He will provide those needs.  Now, that word needs is something we must keep in the back of our minds as we study.  Because what man thinks needs are and what the scriptures teach are two different things.  In this passage, we discover that food and clothing, with shelter slightly implied, are our needs.  This is corroborated in ITimothy 6:8:  "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." 

And again, in Mt. 6:33:  "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  God is first.  His will and His righteousness for our lives are all that matters.  Nothing else takes precedence over that.  The needs we require for survival will be provided for by God; our thoughts need to be on higher things.  Colossians. 3:2 states:  "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."  God takes care of our earthly needs because we don't have time to focus on anything but "higher things," being God's will.  If we are wrapped up in worry about our needs, then we will most certainly sacrifice our time of study, of meditation, of teaching, and of living God's word.  

So, according to the scriptures, "making a living" as we like to say, is taking care of our needs.  Needs.  Not wants, not got-to-haves, not worldly possessions, not laying up treasures, not piling up riches, not any of these things.  Just our needs.  If we are focused on "higher things," our energy is not spent on such idle thought or activity.  And as long as we are true to God's kingdom and His righteousness, our needs are taken care of by the Father. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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