Beyond meeting basic needs, what motivates you to work? Is there a level of personal wealth are you striving to attain? What will happen when you get there? How will your life be different? What you are working for reveals what you believe about God. Nothing has more direct impact on your day-to-day life than what you believe about God.
In Luke 12, Jesus is surrounded by thousands of people, all listening to him teach on matters of the utmost significance. At some point a man in the crowd interrupts Jesus, saying essentially, “All of this stuff about God is fascinating, but I want to talk about something real, something that will actually impact my day-to-day life.” The man wanted Jesus to use his pull to help him acquire a larger share of his family’s inheritance. The man believed, as we are naturally inclined to do, that material wealth guarantees comfort, security and happiness – the good life. But he couldn’t see that his inordinate desire for personal wealth revealed what he believed about himself, about God, and matters of eternal significance. He couldn't see that his most troubling problems are the kind that money can't solve or that the solution to his deepest problems and the source of the abundant life he so badly desired was the man he was trying to use for his personal gain.
Knowing that others in the crowd shared the man’s sentiments, Jesus capitalized on a teachable moment. He cautioned the people against believing that material wealth can guarantee abundant life, and told a story to illustrate his point. The man in the story actually succeeds in achieving a level of professional success and personal wealth beyond the wildest dreams of most, and then, immediately thereafter, he dies. His abundant wealth failed to translate into abundant living (or any kind of living). For an emphatic period on his story Jesus says matter-of-factly: any man who worships and serves material wealth for comfort, security, and happiness is a fool.
A fool uses God as a tool to help him worship money and experience abundant life. A wise man uses money as a tool to help him worship God and experience abundant life. To this end, the Apostle Paul says this:
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19)
As theologian A.W. Tozer observed, what comes into your mind when you think of God is the most important thought you will ever think. So what do you think of when you think of God? A cold tyrant? A senile grandfather? A subservient personal Santa Claus? Or the embodiment and origin of love, wisdom, and perfection who invites us to call him Father, having reconciled us to himself through his son Jesus?
Jesus invites us to see what this man in the crowd could not: that, far from being irrelevant, what you believe about God impacts your day-to-day life more than anything else...including your motivation to work.