Our culture says our career is to be our #1 priority. God says you’ll be happier if relationships are the #1 priority. But even when relationships are #1, that doesn’t eliminate the need to make money. Just as you need meaningful relationships, you also need income generated by your career. The key is to strike a healthy balance between career and relationships. There’s nothing wrong with advancing in your career and making good money. I hope you do both because we’ve got a building to pay for in our near future! 😉 What I’m trying to warn against is this – pursuing these things to the detriment of your marriage – to the detriment of meaningful relationships. Each of us has to find a healthy balance between quantity of income and quality of life.
A man named Agur in the Bible found a balance. He wrote in Proverbs 30:8-9, “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” I don’t believe Agur was advocating that no one be poor and no one be rich, and that everyone be right in the middle. No. What he’s advocating is balance. Each of us needs to find the balance. If all you care about is being rich, you’ll destroy your relationships. At the same time, if all you care about is relationships, you won’t be able to pay your bills!
When I first started out in ministry, someone recommended a book by Andy Stanley called Choosing to Cheat. In that book Andy talked about how he wanted to be the best pastor he could be, but how he wouldn’t sacrifice his family on the altar of ministry. That book has influenced me greatly. I want to be the best pastor I can be. I want to reach lots of people for Christ. But I won’t sacrifice my family to do it.
So what do we do? We set up healthy parameters and then advance as far as we can within those parameters. For example…
- I’m going to have a daily quiet time with God
- I’m going to continue dating my wife
- I’m going to have a weekly Sabbath Day’s rest
- I’m not going to work so much that I’m too tired to play with my children
- I’m going to go to church on Sunday
- I’m going to be in a group throughout the week
- I’m going to enjoy a hobby (or two)
I’ve found my personal balance between relationships and career by determining what things I won’t let work get in the way of. What are those things for you?