Like most college students, I have a job this summer. I work full time at Nordstrom Direct where I stand at a table and inspect clothing that has been returned to Nordstrom. My department, Returns and Inspections, is also known as the “Scratch and Sniff” department. Let’s just say that the items I receive are not always in pristine condition.
My job is pretty monotonous, so it’s better when you work with a friend. I did not know anyone in my department when I started working, but now it seems we have become a family of sorts. I have one friend in particular that stands across from me everyday. We became friends by asking each other questions to help pass the time. One day, he asked me a question that was not unfamiliar to me:
What would you do if you had a million dollars?
I thought back to middle school when I had been asked the very same question. Back then, I’m sure I had a whole list of things I would buy for myself and for other people. Mansions, cars, jet skis – you name it. But when my friend at work asked the very same question, I paused. What in the world would I do with that much money?
Now that I am no longer in middle school (thank goodness) I realize that money is not that great. If you don’t know what I’m trying to say just go to the store and find the nearest magazine section and read up on today’s celebrities. Money destroys lives.
Hold on now, wait a second. I’m not telling you to give away your possessions and live on the streets. Just wait. I’m about to tell you the opposite. (Side note: In the Bible, Jesus does tell one guy to give away all his possessions, but that’s not what I’m talking about. That’s a whole different story.)
First, back to my story. After thinking for a minute, I answered my friend’s question. If I had a million dollars, I would take only what I needed and then give the rest away to charity. My friend thought I was out of my mind. He said that he would keep the money so that he “would never have to work again.” In a half-joking tone I told him that it is good to work, and that I would be extremely bored if I didn’t have my work. But I’m here to tell you what I didn’t tell him.
I was completely serious when I said that it is good to work. We all need to work in order to live. We have to work to eat. As college students, I know most of us are not completely on our own and we have financial help or we live with our parents in the summer. But after college, we will need to work in order to make money to go to the store and put food on the table. Some of us will even have families to provide for. So no, don’t go out and sell your possessions and live on the streets. That is not what we are meant to do.
We are meant to work. I know sometimes that’s not easy. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to have a job this summer and I whine and complain about leaving to go to work. There are some days at work where I really just do not want to inspect one more suit. But I always try to remind myself to have a cheerful heart. I have a job! I’m making money for college!
I have this outlook on work because I know that I am not just working for myself. I am a part of something greater. In Colossians 3:23 it says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (NLT). We all have our work. Sometimes the work we do doesn’t even come with a paycheck. I know stay-at-home moms that work day and night and we all know that they don’t get paid for what they do. But if you ask your mother why she does what she does for you, she’ll probably tell you that it is because she loves you. We all have our work, and our work has a purpose.
It’s easier to work when you know why you are working. I know the reason I work. Do you?