My friend’s voice on the phone told of a hard working employee. One I had worked with prior to becoming a pastor. My friend spoke of how he could settle down the most irate of customers and fix their problems. Always willing to take on any job whether big or small. Always ready to travel far and stay long. Of the hotel points he cashed in for thousands of dollars of gift cards. Of the box of power bars and energy drinks he kept in his car so he didn’t have to leave the job site. How he was always out of town working overtime. How he made good money. How he died on the jobsite at the much too young age of 43, leaving behind a wife and two Junior High age boys. And then these words: “He said he did it so they could have things.” My heart sank.
Please understand it has been many years since I worked with these boy’s dad (I don’t think they were even born). I am making no judgments upon whether my former co-worker was a good husband and father because I could not know that. But one word rang in my ear: “Things.” All I could think about was two young boys heading into adolescence who would probably give every “thing” they had just to have their daddy back.
Here are some things I have been reflecting upon:
Time is a precious commodity. Spend it well. “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (Jam. 4:14b, ESV)
Your relationship to God is of the utmost importance. “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:24–26a, ESV)
Investing godly time with your family and others comes next. “And these words that I command you… You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them [as you go about life]” (Deu. 6:6–7, ESV)
Work is good. But not at the expense of more important things. “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (Ec. 2:24 ESV)
Life is short. Work to provide, not to indulge. Invest your time wisely in the things that will matter for eternity.
Further reading: Matthew 6:19-20; Mark 8:34-38; Ecclesiastes 2:24–25; James 4:13-17
David Harris is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. A former programmer, in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Kim and trying his hand at the illusive craft of smoking meat.