Hard work is commonly considered necessary by ordinary people. But it was hard work that unnecessarily affected humanity, after Adam’s curse. Otherwise, God did not create humanity in His own image so they could toil in this physical universe and perish miserably. It is unnecessary to succumb to living under tough conditions, scrounging for survival. Why is it necessary to work hard for survival? Jesus came for the purpose of granting us freedom from physical toil.
But, can a person be happy without the possession of cash in the bank? Can anyone be happy when unsure where his next meal would come from, including that of his children? Can one be happy when looked down upon, or despised by his peers? Can a person be truly happy when unsure of how his wife and children would face life’s struggles, after his demise?
The above questions are known to have, all along, troubled humanity, in general. But these concerns do not necessarily trouble those having attained true freedom in Christ. Happiness does not come from the abundance of wealth, by the way. Neither does happiness come from scarcity, or the inability to feed children. Happiness is a result of spiritual freedom.
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”(John 10:9-10 NIV).
A person who is in Christ is not anxious about his personal survival, but the survival of others. He is different from those considered rich, whose concerns arise from anxiety, fearing losing everything, through inflation, or some other unforeseen disaster. The concern of a rich man is the likelihood of negative reactions from other people; in the event that he would be reduced to poverty.
Rarely do rich people worry about the concerns of not having food for tomorrow. Their major concern is always about the reaction of ordinary people, in the event that their businesses crumble, reducing them to experiencing poverty. This comes from their inability to treat other people as equals, during their elevated times of ego.
Pride is what makes them feel threatened, when the despised, suddenly become richer than them. Ordinary people often admire rich people. Their status of poverty makes them feel dehumanized. But they do so without being aware of this information; which makes the rich, miserable, even though living in apparent abundance.
Meanwhile, the poor would be working hard, striving to achieve the status of wealth, as portrayed among the admired, considered wealthy people. The poor people assume that hard work is necessary; in order to acquire riches. The only reason for most people to work hard is to attain a luxurious living.
But the realization of luxurious living cannot be possible in the presence of poor people in one’s environment. A truly luxurious living is possible when those in one’s surroundings would appreciate one’s services. Therefore, there cannot be true luxury without committing oneself to serve fellow humans. Hence the stolen money survives only for a short while.
There is some luxury that comes as a result of ego. This is what leaves most of those considered rich people, entrapped. This describes a sharp distinction between two types of wealth, as observable in this world. The wealth that comes through freedom is different from the wealth that comes through bondage.
To illustrate this point, let us consider the lives of good comedians. Can anyone accept the notion that comedians are hard workers? I suppose not, except that comedians appear as natural as can be observed. Comedians simply enjoy distributing their talents in comedy, making people laugh and relieving their stress in life.
Good comedians may have had difficult times when growing up. The strict parental discipline, assuming that to be necessary, would have made the lives of those comedians, miserable. This goes for any other talent that the child might possess, but is considered unacceptable by the strict parents.
I suppose such parents often get surprised, in the event that their comical children turn out to be celebrities? Those parents would not have envisaged such children realizing good income, as to be professional comedians.
Perchance, such comedians would have achieved what Jesus promised to humanity. Jesus came so that humanity might live in abundance. Those comedians would not be carrying the burden of how they would survive, the following day. Sadly, when surviving in a self-centred country like Zimbabwe, those comedians rarely get rewarded sufficiently.
Think of the legendaries like Mdhara Bhonzo, Mukadota, and Gringo, to mention but a few. A self-centred nation, such as Zimbabwe cannot care about rewarding the services of such people. The majority assume that getting things for free enables acquiring wealth. But it is most likely that even when dying under the conditions of poverty; comedians remain in their state of happiness.
They appear as if knowledgeable of the fact that happiness does not come by what one gets, but by what one gives. They may die in poverty, but having peacefully done well, entertaining the highly stressed ordinary people. When Jesus promised to provide abundant life, it had to be above what is experienced by those comedians. Unaware of this, even most Christians prefer avoiding some of the Scriptures, like the following:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”(Matthew 6:25-33 NIV).
An average Christian asserts to the fact that everything said by Jesus is truthful. However, the actions of such Christians show that they would be stuck in unbelieving the above Scripture. In Jesus, humans have a chance to go back to the status of being God’s children. While expected to work hard, for survival, it is unnecessary for Christians to work hard, for purposes of survival.
Everything is accomplished without stress, in God’s Kingdom. But, even currently, it is possible to achieve marvellous things, when identifying with the purpose of one’s existence. The great inventors of this world were not, necessarily, Christians. But they connected with the purpose of their having been created.
This idea of working hard, in order to survive, is a result of being someone else, rather than being oneself. Hence, professional comedians can realize good income in the business of comedy, viewed as undemanding of hard work. Incidentally, there cannot be hard work in playing one’s favourite sport, for instance.
But there is an enjoyment that keeps the person in high spirits of enthusiasm. This is why others accumulate wealth in the field of sport. Those sportsmen live better lives than those doing jobs that are commonly assumed to be necessary for survival. Competition is unnecessary when identifying with one’s own purpose of existence.
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22 NIV).
Notice carefully that the mention of a good person does not necessarily refer to hard-working. A good person has got nothing to do with being hard-working or not being hard-working. But how does a person become good? This world has produced good people. But, there cannot be any other model for goodness, except looking at Jesus, as the perfect standard of goodness.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness”(Philippians 2:3-7 NIV).
This can be the Scripture that perfectly illustrates the significance of true riches. Valuing others above oneself appears as granting the only assurance to the durable inheritance. Successful comedians are those who become successful because they would have valued other people above themselves.
Successful billionaires, like Bill Gates, became successful because their dreams involved catering for the needs of humanity. In the world of football, we have the likes of Lionel Messi and others, realizing fortunes, out of playing football. This is all because these talented sports personalities do what satisfies the needs of millions of fans around the world.
It is, therefore, the principle of service that carries the magic of realizing durable benefits. Providing inheritance to one’s children’s children means investing the idea of service in the minds of those children. This has got nothing to do with physical inheritance, but an attitude that focuses on serving other fellow humans.
True wealth does not need storage, and it carries no future concern for self. A highly talented comedian, valuing his audience, generates income, without having had a physical inheritance. The attitude of service, even in comedy, is the only durable inheritance to one’s children. Life is about service, more than being served by others.
How can we quantify the wealth of Jesus in monetary terms, today? More so, how do we quantify the wealth of Jesus in monetary terms, in the world to come? This describes the effects of services, by a man who died below the age of thirty-five. That service covered a span of fewer than four years. There is therefore a need to carefully study the lifestyle of that man.
All this goes to illustrate the point that the only way to true wealth and happiness is altruism. The mind of a greedy man suggests that the principle of altruism is not applicable. This is notwithstanding that the recorded highly successful people, in this world; serve the needs of their fellow humans, in various ways.
Striving to accumulate wealth, only for self, is striving towards poverty for one’s own future generation. However, striving to serve fellow humans across the world is striving towards true wealth for one’s future generations.
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.My heart took delight in all my labour, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun”(Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 NIV).
The problem of humanity lies in not knowing the purpose of living on this planet. The assumption has always been that the purpose of living is to be self-satisfied, without satisfying other people.
Living up to seventy years is considered generous, even without showing anything for surviving that long. Let alone those having lived up to a hundred years or more. They would have long become a stressful burden to their grandchildren.
Having long exhausted whatever the physical inheritance, the grandpa would have become burdensome to his grandchildren. Only a few people are motivated to work hard so they can provide for the rest of humanity. The most interesting observation is that those striving to accumulate wealth, only for their close families, remain incapacitated, unable to achieve those objectives.
This explains the toiling for vanity, as enunciated in the Book of Ecclesiastes. The laws of nature, although unobserved by most people, reveal that durable wealth is found in serving humanity, without focusing on self.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99