You might say that it is so we can produce something that the world needs. You might say that it is to give us a sense of accomplishment. You might say that it's so we can have the chance to interact with other people on a regular basis.
You might say any one of those things, and you would be right to a degree. But most people would simply say, "So I can make money."
And that is true. But Paul said something in Ephesians that might surprise you:
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28, NIV, emphasis mine)Interesting. Being productive is there. So is getting something out of it. But the reason for earning money? According to this Scripture, it's in order to put us in position to be generous.
It's not just an isolated passage. All through the Bible we see people of God who were blessed for one reason - so they could be a blessing. Abraham. Moses. David. Solomon.........all received incredible blessings from God but the reason was so they could be a part of his master plan.
So why are you blessed? (And make no mistake - almost everyone who reads this, especially if they're an American, is in the top echelons or so of the world's wealth.) The Bible gives us one reason. And it so we should ask ourselves every day how we can be a blessing to someone else.
I actually got to thinking about this while reading a book by the founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy. Mr. Cathy has been blessed with an incredibly successful franchise, founded and built through hard work and adherence to Biblical principles. To share his insights, he wrote a book recently called Wealth: Is It Worth It? Here is the excerpt that got me thinking:
The whole world around us is a reminder to give. Why did God create trees? To give us shelter, fruit, timber, and oxygen. The ground, the stars, the moon, the cattle in the fields - all of them were created to give. Likewise, we were created to give. That's why we experience so much joy when we give generously.What a wonderful picture! God has created a wonderfully rich universe. Sun, moon, stars, air, water, animals, plants...I could go on and on. Out of his infinite riches God has created everything around us in order to give, give, give. And they all scream at us, "YOU give too!"
There are so many in need. And God has blessed us with so much. In the Ephesians passage, he tells us that the reason to work is so that we will have resources to help others. May God grant us all the wisdom to follow his example, and the faith to trust that when we do so he will take care of our needs.