Let’s try this another way. Here’s how to be, happy — my formula, anyway. If you’re interested in other formulae, I’m sure there’s someone out there who can fill you in.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
– Colossians 3:23-24
Have you beheld a man skillful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself; he will not station himself before commonplace men.
– Proverbs 22:29
Find out how God has gifted you, and do that thing with your whole being while you’re at your job. Honor God by honoring your employer — work hard; be honest and ethical about what you do.
Honor your co-workers, give credit where its due, don’t step on other people to get to the top — get there by being the best you can at what you do.
To the best of my ability this has been my goal, and at 27 I am respected as an equal by professionals who are 15 years older than me. My job is not perfect, and some days it downright sucks, but I am happy and successful at work.
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
– 1 Corinthians 16:2
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Let no debt remain outstanding
– Romans 13:8
Show me a wealthy Christian, and I will show you a person who gives faithfully and generously to ministry.
This has always been a struggle for us — some months are easier than others. Some months are downright difficult. The Old Testament says 10% is a minimum, and its our earnest goal to be tithing at least there.
The Bible also says that if you give faithfully, God will take care of you. He has proven that promise to us again and again. Each financial growth point in our marriage can be correlated with our giving. The better we get at giving God back a portion of what He gives us, the more He blesses us with.
I’m not going to discuss specifics, but we have financial goals we’re working toward (also based on Biblical principles) and we’re on track to get them. My wife can work if she wants, but she’ll never feel like she has to work just for us to get by. For as long as we’ve been tithing regularly, my income has been more than enough for us to live comfortably.
The second principle to financial success is to eliminate debt. Aside from our house, we’ll have no debt by the time we’re 30 — the same time I’ll hit another financial goal I’m working toward. Its our plan to never carry credit card debt again after that point.
We’re not quite there yet, but we’re working hard, the reward is increasing exponentially, and we are happy.
I will show you my faith by my works. . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
– James 2:18, 26
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
– Galatians 6:9-10
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
– Mark 16:15-16
A reader of this blog once posted in a comment: Love God, family, world. Serve in that order.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
No matter what your job is, or how good you are at it, you need to be giving your time and energy to the body of Christ. One way we’ve found to serve God is to serve in our church humbly. If your church isn’t geared for that, serve in your community as a Christian (and consider finding a new church.)
Serve your family. This means being with them and investing in them. Doing things together, challenging each other. Not missing an opportunity to play with your kids, or date your mate.
Serve your world. For some people the world is a very small place. Perhaps some disability prevents you from traveling too far from home, and your “world” is just a few blocks surrounding your house. That’s fine. The rest of us have no excuse. Get off your comfortable seat and go see what else God made. Serve people in places you’re not comfortable with! Share your blessings with people who can only dream of what you have. The reward is more incredible than you can imagine.
Here’s the great thing about this plan: you don’t have to do anything you weren’t built to do. God made you for these things — they are in your nature. Maybe you don’t feel them all the time, but when you’re in the center of His will, you’ll know happiness.
Of course there’s more to life than just money, work and time… but those are pretty big categories. And really the intent is just to rebut the popular religion — the belief that we are each the center of our own worlds. The original plan for happiness and success came from your maker, who knows better than you do what will make you happy, and who made you creatively as a small but important part of a greater work of art