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The Fulfillment of Work

Why do you work? If you work because you need a paycheck, or you want to make tons of money, I understand that. To a point.

But I also understand that for most of us, we can do something more. Even if you have fifty cents, a dollar, two dollars extra, you can pay for someone’s day. That’s the same amount of money that people in some countries make in a day. So if you give a little extra, you can support somebody’s one day paycheck. You really do have the ability to do that.

And maybe you work hard because you’ve set goals. You say, “I want to achieve something great. At my job, to be great, you have to get that raise or that promotion, and I want to be great, so that’s my goal.” I really do understand. But it can’t stop there, because by itself, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I mean, what is the point of being great?

Suppose I say to someone, “You have to work hard because you want to become the President of your company.”  And they say, “Yeah, I want to do that.”

Then I ask, “Okay, why?’

“Well,” they might say, “because that’s my goal. I want to be President of the company.”

“Well, why?” I ask. “Why do you want to be the President of the company?  Why do you want to make two million dollars a year?  Why do you want to make fifteen million dollars a year?  Why do you want to be rich?  What is it for?”

Is it so you can buy cars and boats and houses and fly all over the world and enjoy luxuries?  Is it for that?  Because the thing is, you can only do that so much.  There’s only so many boats you can have or cars you can have or houses you can buy.

I mean, I lived in an apartment, and I live in a beautiful home now. But they both achieve the same thing. I sit on the couch and watch TV, and I go in the kitchen and cook food. It’s just a place to live. It’s not like you wake up every morning in awe. It eventually becomes normal. So to me, if that’s all you achieve, if you want to work hard just so you can be in that house, well, that’s really shallow. It’s just a boring life.

I understand working hard because you want to have a nice house for your family. We all want safety and comfort. But I also want to work hard because that will give me the ability to help out someone else who works just as hard as I do and will never, ever, ever, be able to make more than two or three dollars a day. That has to be the thought.

You can actually help someone start a business over in Uganda or Kenya or India or Haiti.  You can help someone do that with very little money.  You can do microloans.

Or you know what?  It costs $8,000 to put in a well. There are a lot of things a well can do that we don’t think about. I got educated without ever thinking about it. I just woke up one morning and my parents said you have to go to school. So I went to school. But there are kids in these countries who say, “Well, I’d like to go to school but I’ve got no clean drinking water. I’ve got so much diarrhea that I’m literally wasting away and I can’t walk because I’m so weak.”  Or they say, “Maybe I could go to school if I didn’t have to walk seven miles a day to go get forty gallons of clean water and carry it back just so my mom can cook food and wash clothes and we’re not drinking or cooking with disease-infested water.”

And maybe you know three people that can chip in $2,500 or four people that can chip in $2,000 and you can provide fresh water for 1500 people, eliminating 90% of their diseases.  Now the kids can go to school and get educated, just like we got educated without ever thinking about it.

If we can actually get the concept and understand what other people are going through, we’re going to want to work harder. Our goals will change, and our concept of greatness will change. You’ll say, “I want to be the President of the company so that I can make the rules.” You’ll want to be President so you can say, “A portion of my company’s funds are going to build wells.”  You’ll aspire to be a successful entrepreneur so that you can take your company and go help people.

There are so many more fulfilling things you can do if you’re not just working for a paycheck and just thinking about your own comfort. There is so much you can achieve if you think about how to love your neighbor.

We were created to love our neighbors as ourselves. I think that kind of love is the same love that Jesus has for us, and that’s why it’s so fulfilling when we love somebody with that kind of love. It feels so good. You feel so good when you love your neighbor, whether you’re a Christian or not. I truly believe that kind of love is the love of Jesus. That kind of love is what makes you tick and enjoy life.

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