Nearly everyone works only to GET paid. They work for MONEY! Most people believe that money is the yardstick of success. Without dollars, pounds, marks, francs, yen, they feel it is impossible to attain a full image of success. That concept is WRONG. You should NOT work FOR money! HERE'S PROOF!
A BRIGHT, eager, alert, young man from the valet service smoothly parked my car at the curb of the traffic island in front of the Los Angeles Air Terminal. I had just arrived from Salt Lake City. It was late at night and I was impatient to get on my way. Sensing this, he briskly loaded my luggage and ushered me into the car. As we drove back to his dispatch office he smoothly reminded me that he'd tuned in the radio to the program I preferred. (He had only fine tuned the station to which I'd listened while driving to the airport.) He told me his name, gave me his card, and glibly mentioned that if I would ask specifically for him the next time he would bring my car more quickly than any of the other drivers. His card indicated that he also sold real estate and he gently informed me that he could take care of any of my needs in that area also. This young man was working hard — day and night — to be a success. So I asked him about it. He confidently replied that he was already on his way. He had plotted his course and was doing "everything" to assure success. He was quick of wit. He was studying and applying practical psychology. He was industriously pursuing his brand of success. As we parted I gave him some "success" — money! He is snagged — "hooked" — by a shoddy substitute for success. In our spoiling society "Money is worshiped as the root of all happiness; it is more godlike than God. Harvard's Dean Monro says sardonically, 'The ability to make money excuses everything else'." (Look, September 24, 1963)
Anything to Get More Money
And so headlines are continually ablaze with the old news that some group or another is on strike because it wants more money. It makes little difference that the economy of the entire nation, or even the world, might be at stake. Large and important worker's groups, with far-reaching power and effect, bring the whole nation to a stumbling, smothering impasse when they choke off production, distribution and consumption of basic commodities or services. Just to assure their own personal "success" — defined by dollars and cents. Even the staid and "noble" professions of medicine and nursing resort to these same tactics in order to maintain their status quo or enlarge their incomes. They too want their measure of success. Mankind, caught up in this futile rat race, is well on the way to collapse. The trap which will destroy all chances for success and happiness gapes greedily to repay greediness. The ugly facts are obvious "... in these Disunited States today, every special interest group, nurses, social workers, teachers, and college professors, as well as farmers, truck drivers, machinists, and businessmen — is hell-bent for building and using collective power to gain a larger share of the nation's product for its members while doing everything possible to reduce their contributions of time and talent to the creation of anything needed or desired by other citizens" (R. E. Strain, Professor of Economics, Calif. State College, Long Beach, Los Angeles Times, August 14, 1966). Not that it is wrong to receive pay for work. God knows and says a laborer is worthy of his hire. Not that things are wrong in themselves. Christ means for all men to follow a way which will provide full, abundant lives — physically and spiritually. But the deluding concept that wages and things are an end in themselves is entirely false. They are only the fringe benefits which God intends for those who are truly successful. Not realizing this fundamental the world drives relentlessly on trying to acquire possessions. Financial giants labor and plot ceaselessly to enlarge their holdings. But in the end death makes good its inexorable claim. The financier goes into his grave and leaves his money behind. He can't take it with him! His "success" is only temporary.
Smaller men foolishly interpret the accumulations of such leaders as "success." Duped by our competitive system they emphasize getting! Without realizing the end result, they set off in pursuit of their will-o'-the-wisp. They thrash about in their own little puddles and ponds without ever finding the satisfying certainty of true success. But there is never quite enough! In a recent poll, it was found that people believe a 30 percent income increase would solve their financial problems. But soaring incomes over the past generation prove the cry will always be, "MORE!" How much does it take to satisfy? Another poll showed $75 a week would satisfy one man, but a banker considered a cool million a year not too much. It often depends on where one is on the financial ladder at the moment. This is illustrated by a survey conducted by Printer's Ink magazine which revealed that 76 percent of the advertising industry's executives who make over $25,000 a year are unhappy in their jobs. More than 21 percent of those interviewed blamed their gloom on the belief that they were UNDERPAID. It's easy to be miserable on a large income. The most casual observer knows that a great many people who have big homes, color TV's, fine cars, cabin cruisers and country club memberships are chronically unhappy. They are unsure of themselves and the system in which they live. They acquire things — but success, security and real happiness remain elusive. No matter the number, variety or combination of the feelings, sights, sounds, smells, or tastes experienced there is always something more for which to yearn. Yesterday's sensations fade. Tomorrow's impressions never quite meet expectations. An aching void develops. In desperation men try to satisfy their inner cravings. They are prone to try harder and harder to stuff more and more things into their hollow lives. The greater their efforts the more vacuum they create — the more dejected and heartsick they become. There is no satisfaction — no filling answer — to be found in material possessions alone. They give only temporary respite which soon turns to dust, ashes and wind. This is the road to wretchedness about which we've been warned.
The apostle Paul warns us, "But they that will be rich [those who keep planning because of their eagerness to have money and things] fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a [not "the" as some have erroneously assumed, because of a mistranslation] root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Tim. 6:9-10). He goes on in verse 17, "Charge them that are [already] rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy." These words sternly warn that we must be careful in the way we obtain our wages. We must not set our heart on the riches that our study, labor, and employers provide. The apostle James gives further warning when he says, "Do you think the scripture says in vain, the spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?" (James 4:5.) It is natural to try to acquire the things which they hope will satisfy the cravings of their fleshly minds and bodies. But this is useless vanity. Solomon, the wisest, and one of the richest men who ever lived, proved this for himself. He had everything. Did everything. But in the end he had only a handful of wind — VANITY! Read Ecclesiastes 1 and 2 it's an eye-opener. In spite of the fact that some men have amassed tremendous wealth they have never been able to find peace or happiness in their storage vaults or bank accounts. Even J. Paul Getty — a billionaire — is quoted as saying, "I would gladly trade my millions for just one lasting marital success." It is simply impossible to find real, deep satisfaction when our initial and emphasized effort is toward the getting of things merely to "consume them upon our own lusts." Everyone talks money, and no one thinks he has enough of it. The accumulation of money is equated with success. One Detroit boy said: "I want to get ahead, and I'll step on people to do it. Money is important to me. I enjoy the good things, and I don't want to have to work a whole lifetime to enjoy them. I want to be successful." (Detroit Free Press) Our society is lost in just such a moral vacuum. We have plunged so far from the truth we don't know what to do. We're caught up in the stifling web of materialism. It clings to us — threatens to destroy us — as we cling to things. "Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, 'The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings. "The western world is full of things, all right. We've rung the bell of materialism; we've won the cigar. No other civilization has even come close. But are we 'happy as kings' or do we give the lie to Stevenson's happy thought with our neuroses, our tensions and depressions, our divorce and alcoholism and delinquency — our emotional troubles? "Perhaps we haven't yet learned to live with all our things. Instead of possessing them, they may possess us. We may have turned possession into obsession. Some people do.... "Wouldn't it be a wiser goal to learn how to live with the abundant material production we've achieved?... There is nothing wrong with 'things'. It's our attitude toward them which makes all the difference.... Possessions after all, are only a means toward a better life — not ends in themselves." (By Howard Whitman, Kansas City Star)
Serve God, or Money?
Christ conveyed the same thought when He said, "You cannot serve God and mammon [money, wealth, riches, things]" (Mat. 6:24). Why, of course! Here is the answer! Christ Himself tells us who — what to work for: God! A startling, even shocking, answer isn't it? But it is a PRACTICAL one! It expresses a workable principle. It is not just nebulous, sanctimonious, theological nonsense. If we work for money we cannot be working for God. Therefore, we cannot be working for our own best interests. It is God who is truly concerned about our steady, sure, full success. The devil's way is to get! Satisfy lust as quickly as possible. Satan has fooled us into believing his way is good and right. That is the reason men work so hard to get things for themselves. They put the cart before the horse. They live and work contrary to God's law and then are astonished when they are paid off in curses and wretchedness. We simply must get right with God first! Then, He absolutely guarantees that our lives will be full and abundant. If you've found yourself bogged down in a seemingly endless and wearisome routine of striving for financial success, stop! Take a look at yourself. God doesn't want you on a dull and dreary treadmill following an unvarying round monotonously day after day. He doesn't want you to just endure a boring life. Jesus came to give you a full, vibrant, joyful life (John 10:10). You can have it if you'll go about it the way He says. God will see to it that the rising cost of living doesn't leave you destitute. He will move you into a bigger, better and more challenging job. You can become ever more productive and have the satisfaction of really serving. But first, you must understand the importance of service — GIVING! Here is the fundamental answer to a full life: It is more blessed to give than to receive! (Acts 20:35)
Admittedly, this is a hard saying. It goes against the natural course of the world. But that natural way is diametrically opposed to God's way! The carnal — natural — mind is at enmity with God. Its very thoughts are contrary to the way of God. (Rom. 8:7) This antagonism parallels the thinking of Satan himself and results in disobedience (Eph. 2:2). Mankind — apart from God — has spent all history in gratifying the cravings of his fleshly senses. Nonetheless, God has demonstrated His way to peace and prosperity. He provided a Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who came and showed us how we ought to live. Christ was not at all concerned about getting for Himself. All of His efforts were expended in GIVING. Jesus has boundless generosity! He gave His very life so goodness can come into ours. It is a free gift! We don't have to earn it — indeed, we cannot earn it! You see, Jesus does not charge us for the work that He did. He worked hard — to death! But, He doesn't expect us to pay Him for His labor! Admittedly, that is not the "natural" way to really succeed! It's most unnatural. But Christ has shown THE WAY to real success, physical, financial, and spiritual! As unnatural as that way might seem, and as contrary to human nature as it may appear, it is the ONLY way to REAL success!
The TRUE Way to Success
You need new ideals! You should soberly evaluate yourself. If you do this objectively, you'll find that you really weren't worth so much after all. No matter how long or hard we work we still come short of the perfection and production to which we should attain. Certainly, each one of us has our individual gifts, talents, abilities. And we're expected to use these with fervor and zeal. We're supposed to produce. We're supposed to be successful workers. But that does not give the right to demand payment or anything. Rather, we are to GIVE, in service, and then wait for God to reward us. We're to do everything we are able with charity and cheerfulness. God expects us to turn in horror from every wrong. He expects us to hold on to those principles and actions which are right in His sight. He demands that we show brotherly love to everyone. We're to try to build up and edify others — never try to take from them. We're to remain happy, hopeful, hospitable. Even in the face of deprivation, persecution, suffering we are to go right on doing a full, complete, and competent job. We never have an excuse to be high-minded or conceited. We simply must make sure that our affairs are right in the sight of everybody. Live at peace with everybody. Never attempt to take revenge. Remember that God has promised, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will pay them back" (Deut. 32:35). We must forsake competition. Our whole endeavor should be toward service. It isn't important how much a man has. It is important for him to properly use WHAT he has. Use yourself for good and God will give His special reward.
But what if your employer underpays you and doesn't treat you right in other ways? Can you then slow down, slack off, insist on "your rights," and your money? Peter answers all such questions with an astounding statement. His instruction is wholly unheard of today in labor relations meetings. Shocking as it may be, here is what God inspires him to say, "Servants [employees] be submissive to your masters [employers] with perfect respect, not simply to those who are kind and reasonable [not to just those who pay as much as you would like to be paid] but to the surly AS WELL; for it is a merit when from a sense of God one bears the pain of unjust suffering. Where is the credit in standing punishment for having done wrong? No, if you stand suffering for having done right, that is what God counts a merit. And this is your vocation; for when Christ suffered for you He left you an example, and you must be following His footsteps" (I Pet. 2:18-21, Moffatt translation). By the world's standards this is a most impractical approach. It places the employee in extreme jeopardy. It takes away his privilege to strike or retaliate. It abandons him to the mercy of his employer. It leaves him standing unprotected, vulnerable, ready to be blasted about by every whim of a tyrannical employer. That it does, IF THERE IS NO GOD!
In order to operate successfully under this principle the employee must believe — REALLY believe — that God Is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). God has set a perfect law in motion which will provide every blessing and reward for those people who develop the character to follow His way. The good things WILL come ultimately! But God's way is utterly contrary to man's nature. It cuts jaggedly against the grain and seems an impossible solution to the problem of living. Nonetheless, God says this is THE ONLY WAY TO REAL SUCCESS! Christ commands... "take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things" (Mat. 6:31-32). Christ says we are not to be unduly concerned, or overanxious about the accumulation of things or money. Does that mean that we can just lie down and forget all about our jobs? CERTAINLY NOT! We should work diligently because of a desire to be useful, and wisely manage our resources, realizing God will give us an ample reward for our labors. It's a matter of putting first things first! God wants you to have all of the really good things of life. He wants you to have money and the things which money buys! But He knows they'll hurt you if you acquire them before you've developed a right attitude and the character necessary to properly USE material things. There is far more to life than accumulating money and things. Life has a much more profound purpose. You were boon to attain heights which few people even begin to comprehend. If you haven't read Mr. Armstrong's startling explanation of why you were born, read it immediately. It's free. The title is, Why Were You Born? And while you're at it, read The Seven Laws Of Success and Ending Your Financial Worries, two other free booklets in which you'll find much useful information.
Develop Right Character!
The world today looks upon gain — the paycheck — as an expression of success — even godliness. STOP that sort of thinking entirely (I Tim. 6:5). Every emphasis needs to be on serving God FIRST! Then, work for an employer as if for God! Get away from the thoughts of security being found in financial success. True security is only found in God. If we are Christians, we should "flee these things [the inordinate emphasis on material gain]; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, for unto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses" (I Tim. 6:11-12). Stop working for money and start working for God. LITERALLY! God puts it this way, "Servants [employees], obey in all things your masters [employers] according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, AS TO THE LORD, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:22-24). The Creator has placed living LAWS in motion which directly regulate your personal income; your material success! OBEY those laws, and you prosper, break them — and they break you! True, some have broken God's laws and still "prospered" in MATERIAL GOODS and MONEY! But their LIVES have been empty, wasted, futile. True prosperity means a deep feeling of satisfaction with what you have; appreciation for every material blessing; lack of hunger, poverty, privation and want — and that true prosperity is available ONLY by following the living laws that PRODUCE it! Your Creator reveals mankind stands in contempt of the high court of Heaven — that man has broken the very laws that lead toward the peace, the joys and happiness he seeks! It's about time you discovered God's laws about your labor — your job — your income. Read the booklets mentioned in this article if you haven't yet read them, and get started on the road toward TRUE success!