Dear, he says.
I know you’ve given me financial stability, enough for me to have a nice place with a nice car and nice Wii games, even some really great books, but I think I’ve concentrated too much on you and too little on building my friendships both for real friendship and for… a wife.
Too bad, says the job.
I am the inexorable taskmaster of time and energy. You should have thought about that before committing that time to me alone.
Alas, just because he had uncritically accepted the precept of concentrating first on his job and then “trusting God” for a wife in a faith that, for some unexplained reason, diverged vastly from “trusting God” for knowledge and employment! Could this man have done something different? Would that have indicated any less trust in God?
Career: Allocated Disproportionate Resources?
How many times do we fall farther toward this when we expend all our energies to our “career” — unmarried women, meanwhile, may consider this as well — even when we know we are not of the few who are chosen to serve God without a wife? Can this continual grasping really be considered success, or is it really sometimes a distraction from successfully trusting God — not for magical provision of a wife
if He wills it (read:
if I don’t have to put in any work) but for providence in our actions: that God rewards faithfulness to Him — the longings of our heart?
Why our Vocation is Important
Now, the shape of this is different for men than for women, since, unlike women, able men have not just the option but the obligation to provide financially for his family (I Tim. 5.8):
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
This is the clearest call for men to be financial providers even if their wives contribute significantly (Pro. 31.12–18) to the family’s income, but the importance of “careers” goes beyond making a living.
God also does call us into work, which for some is in the “secular” world, and consecrates our work to Himself. God works in the world through our jobs too, not just through the ordained ministers and those whom He met on a road to Damascus and called to preach the gospel in many cities.
Financial Security in Perspective
Financial stability really is, then, a valid desire, but it is not in itself a desirable end. Proverbs casts its end as greater obedience to God, because being neither too rich nor too poor allows us to worship Him more fully (30.7–9):
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
As with all things, then, the good of financial stability is not for our superficial and temporary satisfaction but for God’s glory and for the growth of our eternal satisfaction in Him.
Maybe sometimes sacrificing a few luxuries could help us be even more joyful in knowing the Lord. If you’ve fasted before, you may have experienced a hunger and deep satisfaction from God. (Disclaimer: I have a BMI too low for me to fast from food.)
Trusting God with “Matrimoney”: Finances and Marriage
Alright, so perhaps our culture overemphasizes financial security, but shouldn’t we trust God to provide a spouse so compellingly, if He really wants us married, that it’s as if we’d seen a sign fall from the sky? As Tim Chen has written and I’ve alluded to before, faith often isn’t what we think it is.
If you’ve said or heard,leave the matchmaking to God,remember, God often works though his people. Just think about it … if God can use us to feed the poor or visit the sick, why wouldn’t he use us to pair up the lonely? Isn’t a lonely heart as distressing as an empty stomach or a sick body? (Cindy Schmaltz; HT: Suzanne Hadley)
Instead, trust God that being faithful with friendships and being wise with our time can, when we do it in faith that He blesses what He pronounces good, yield fruitful relationships and maybe even a spouse with whom to share hopes, dreams and struggles. In such a relationship, as I once wrote, the husband and wife will let their worlds penetrate each other and become one in Christ’s redemptive purpose. For how else will they live a shared life in the same world? Praise be then to the God from whom is every good and perfect gift.
Get out there. Make friends. Become better friends. Do it all to the glory of God. Maybe one day you’ll actually say
I do in one of these friendships.