My job has nothing to do with relieving the pain of orphans in Haiti or anywhere else. My job consists of standing at a register and scanning bar-codes. There is nothing world changing about it. There is no social injustices being over turned by what I do. And on top of that the primary reason I am doing it is to make money.
Is this wrong? From what I gather from some growing up in this social action driven generation this may seem to be a waste of life. How could I be so individualistic by doing a job that has no influence on the betterment of society? How could I waste my life working to earn money?
It is very true that this world is not all that there is. “This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). The end of this world is a present reality that should have shaping influence of the decision we make. Everything from the desire to marry to buying groceries is to be done in the frame work of this world passing away. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). All we could possibly gather to ourselves and/or lose in this world has no comparisons to what we will have in the coming age. It is very true, “Only one life will soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.”
So does that mean I am living in a temporal and selfish mindset when I spend 8 hours a day scanning bar-codes to make money?
If that is all the bible had to say then we would have to say yes. However, God commands some things that seem very temporal and selfish.”and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). “For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12). What!? They are not to sell all they have and move to present day Uzbekistan to spread the gospel? Has Paul shifted to a temporal mindset? Doesn’t he know no social injustices will be over turned by these people just “earning their own living”?
Here is the balance that Scripture gives us to these things. We are not to waste this life in the lest bit. Yet, God does not count the lowliest job as a waste. On one side we are protected from the America dream which says that the goal of life is to accumulate wealth. And on the other there is the glory of jobs where we do not selfishly burden others to care for us.
The bible does not call a life that is working a boring, unexciting job a wasted life. Instead, it says it is a life where we are not having to have others provide for us. And then with the extra funds I do make I can give it away. For with the funds I earn from the unexciting job of scanning bar-codes I can give to a couple who is going over seas to translate the bible for those who do not have it. In both assignments, the translator and the bar-code scanner, God is equally glorified.