“Increase Your Earnings”; “Earn More Money After Taking Our Training Courses”; “Double Your Income.” These and many other such articles and advertisements hit our eye when we pick up the newspaper, read a magazine, or check the circular mail advertisements addressed to us. Everywhere we turn, increasing our standard of living is used as an incentive to sell a given product, induce us to register for a course of study, or to read certain articles on how to be more successful. Or, in plain English, how to make more money.
With money, or rather the amount of money one has, becoming the criterion of success, the question comes before us as young people: What consideration should we give to wages when looking for a job or when determining what type of work we will do? This question is very practical because, after all, money is very basic in our daily life. And yet, instinctively, we hesitate to make money the sole consideration in looking for a job or choosing a career. Therefore, let us look a little more closely into this subject and decide just how large a part money should play in that determination.
Wages or income should be an incentive at least partially in choosing an occupation or profession. People are generally qualified in more than one field of endeavor. When this is the case and other things being equal, one should prepare himself for the job or position offering the most money. By so doing, he will be better able to care for the needs of his family, support his church with larger contributions, and be better able to help the poor. Wages could also be an incentive to get the most education available in your field. This does not necessarily mean formal education. In the case of a teacher who could make more money if he or she had an AB degree, it would mean formal training, training that would be beneficial to both the teacher and school. In the case of a factory worker, the training would probably be both formal and informal. A certain amount could be learned from training manuals, but most of this educational process would be in the form of on-the-job practical application. It is certainly our calling to do the best job we can for our employer. Therefore, we should always be developing and becoming more proficient in our work. In the long run, this will mean increased income to us.
Naturally, when we are seeking employment, we must look for a job in our own field. A person who is a top-notch truck driver will not open a retail business or vice versa because one will give him a better income. We must use the talents which God has given us to the best of our ability. We shouldn’t invent talents of our own. By that I mean, we aren’t all qualified to be school teachers, tool and die workers, business men, farmers, etc. But we all have talents of one form or another, and it is those talents that we must develop.
In this connection, there is also the serious question of principle to be considered. This matter is being discussed in the other articles of the Job Symposium, so we won’t discuss it in detail here. However, we cannot talk about the comparative importance of wages without talking about principle, too. The union question, for example, is of paramount importance. We are all acquainted with our objections to becoming members of a worldly union. Moreover, all occupations are not fit for a Christian to perform, such as becoming an actor, a professional entertainer, etc. Besides, if a given job, no matter how well it pays, makes it necessary for us to live away from the church where we feel the truth is presented in its purest manifestation, we must decline such a position. Closely related to the question of location is that of the hours of employment. If some employment makes it impossible for us to be active in church work or to attend the regular services of the church, we cannot with clear conscience accept such employment. We may not consider wages to the exclusion of all other factors.
Underlying this whole question is our motive. In all things we should be motivated by a desire to glorify God and not by the love of money. As stewards of God here on earth, we are accountable for the way in which we use the wages He gives to us. You have probably heard that it is easier to be a poor Christian than a rich Christian. Too many times, a rich person becomes greedy and is interested only in money. This could also be true of one who does not make as much. So, all of us should continually pray for strength and wisdom that we may do all to the honor and glory of God’s Name.