How many times have you heard someone say about their work – “Well, at least I’m making a living.” Maybe it would be more accurate to say “I’m making a dying.” The work they describe is unfulfilling, boring, and stressful. They dread going in on Monday morning – and every other morning. Often they are embarrassed about their work and admit readily they are doing nothing meaningful; only extracting a paycheck in exchange for their time.
Does that sound like “making a living?” I don’t think so. They may brush it off as just something we all do; that work is never going to be purposeful and enjoyable. They may pretend it doesn’t really matter. But then I hear painful phrases like, “I feel like my soul is being sucked out of me,” or “I feel like a prostitute – in exchange for my life I’m getting a paycheck.”
If you’re caught up in the typical American view of work you may say you’re making a living when in truth something inside you is being killed each day. Every day, millions of people rush to get to jobs they don’t love and yet those people defend their choices as responsible, practical, and realistic. How can it be responsible to live the biggest part of our lives devoid of meaning, joy, and purpose?
“Making a Living” implies that you are releasing those skills and talents that make you fully alive. Doing work where the time just flies by – work that you would want to do even if you were not paid for it. Work that is meaningful, fulfilling, purposeful and profitable.
In a recent issue of Rick Warren’s ministry newsletter, the author of The Purpose Driven Life was talking about this idea of meaningful work. Rick referenced this verse from Ecclesiastes 10:15 (Today’s English Version): “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work.” How do you like that? Have you been worn out at work lately? Did you know that you’ve just been put in the category of being “too stupid to find your way home?”
Well, maybe that’s a little harsher than it was intended to be and you’ll find softer language in other Bible translations, but I like the message. Don’t be so busy trying to “make a living” that you’re too busy to make a life.
And I don’t even have space here to describe what most people are doing to themselves when they think they’re “making a killing.”