Why do you spend your money on that which is not bread, and your labor on that which does not satisfy?
Isaiah’s words struck me as I read them one morning.
- What am I spending my money on?
- And what am I doing to be able to make that money?
- Does what I’m doing satisfy?
- Or am I spending 8-9 hours a day not doing anything of real value to me?
Today, thankfully, I can say the answer is yes—I am laboring for something that does satisfy me. I work for Believers Stewardship Services, a Christian nonprofit aimed at helping followers of Christ wisely steward the resources God has given them. I get to help facilitate funds to go all over the world, to help in the work of the gospel.
But the crazy part is, I couldn’t have dreamed of a job that fits me so perfectly, that goes together like peanut butter and jelly, like brownies and ice cream, or the Patriots and the Super Bowl (you get the idea—go Pats!).
I was a finance major in college. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The consulting company Protiviti was my dream job. They had a large focus on community service, and that impressed me quite a bit. I interned there for one summer and I absolutely loved one of the projects I was on. The manager even shared she was ready to hire me for that solution of the business. And maybe that’s something I shouldn’t have been told—because turns out I didn’t get a full-time offer.
I was absolutely devastated.
I cried. A lot.
I had to travel to India that summer, where all my family asked me about my future. It was hard not to think about what I considered a failure.
However, the lack of a job offer from Protiviti is what made me apply to jobs during my senior year of college. And again, I found the perfect job. It was a company I was familiar with, a big name in publishing. I loved their material; I grew up on it actually. It was the perfect fit. I started working the August after I graduated. At first, it was great. I loved the people and I loved the job. The people were truly something special.
But three months into it, I wasn’t sleeping, or all I would do was work and sleep. I would anxiously cry to my mom before work in the morning. Along with the other circumstances of that time, the job was all of a sudden a huge regret. But I couldn’t leave. Not according to my contract, not without facing a hefty financial penalty.
I remember praying to be fired.
I wrote it down in my journal…so those are words I can read to this day. It was my mountain that I needed moved, and I was begging God to move it for me. And guess what? He did. But not in a way I thought, but in something much better. I faced no financial penalty, which was a huge sigh of relief. However, amidst the relief, I also felt like a severe disappointment, a failure—that I was a fraud of a college graduate. This wasn’t the first job that didn’t work out, but the second.
Could I even maintain a full-time position?
Could I commit my time to anything in finance and be remotely satisfied with my labor?
The answer was pretty clear. All through college, all I wanted was to be on the foreign mission field. That’s what I spent most of my college summers doing. And it was amazing. Working with kids to share the gospel or encourage them in their relationship with the Lord was the best thing I could do. And no corporate Wall Street job could be an enjoyable alternative. But what was I to do? I hadn’t felt any specific call to anywhere. I was in New Jersey, that was my mission field for the time being.
Then my life fell into a series of,
“I can’t believe that worked.”
Because, honestly, it shouldn’t have.
While I was figuring out what to do with my time, Stevens Institute of Technology (my alma mater) gave me a job on contract for six months. I had worked there part-time as a student, and I would be back, but in a different role. I absolutely loved it. Yes, it was time-consuming and I couldn’t always do what I wanted, but it was a job that I preferred to anything else.
Near the end of my contract, I had the option to ask for an extension. At the same time, someone I met at a women’s missionary conference told me about an organization that I had never heard of before. I knew the president; he had spoken at retreats and youth group before. When I got the job application, it was easy to see that I didn’t perfectly qualify. I prayed and applied either way and had so many people praying throughout each interview. Now, it’s funny to say, “I can’t believe that worked.” Getting the Stevens job was God’s provision that I didn’t think would happen. But this job was even more of a stretch.
What was I really saying?
That my God couldn’t make a way where there seemed to be none? That God wasn’t big enough to get me a job I would absolutely love?
It’s silly I ever doubted that. But life can be challenging and unexpected. And things don’t always work out well. But God’s word, who He is, and His promises still stand. And His word says that “He works all things for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.” This doesn’t mean everything that happens in my life will be good. It doesn’t mean that God defines good the way the world does. But it does mean that in every situation God has a plan to use it for my sanctification and His glory. To make me more like Christ. To draw me closer to Him. And all of this, if we are willing—if we can surrender to His will, not knowing the journey or the stops along the way. But we know the final destination—the arms of our savior. Face to face with Love Himself.
God provided me that job. Prayers were answered. Who knew if I could even do the job? Would I even like it? Could I handle it? I hadn’t handled it before…doubt creeps up. Yes, I mean sure God can get me the job. But how in the world was I going to get through the day to a day in a field I’m not an expert in—not for profit accounting?
It’s funny whenever we doubt God, because I imagine Him just smirking and thinking, “Oh honey, you just sit back, wait, and see.” He provided me with wonderful co-workers, all of whom were invested in my learning. And not just that, but all who were primarily focused on knowing Christ and making Him known in whatever capacity they were called. They were mothers, wives, camp speakers, leaders, but primarily they were followers of Christ.
Now, back to the original question:
why do you spend your money on that which is not bread,
(“I don’t buy bread because I’m gluten free?” I suppose God loves the gluten-less folks just as much…)
and your labor on that which does not satisfy?
At my job, I get to help account for people spending their money on things of eternal value. I spend my labor partnering with other organizations and missionaries to help the funds reach the people who need it. Sure, my dream is still to be on the foreign mission field (or a nanny…maybe a nanny on the foreign mission field…?).
But in the waiting, in the in-between, I thank and praise Him for what He has provided.
There are hard days. There are overwhelming days. But God didn’t just get me a job and put me on autopilot. He gives peace and wisdom for every aspect of the job.
So friends, that’s a short snippet of my story. Feel free to ask more for all the details I left out—cause there’s so much more.
But I hope my story has made you consider your answers to those very questions.
- What do you spend you money, time, and energy on?
- Is it of not just earthly value, but eternal?
- Does it glorify our God?
Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of Christians on Wall Street and that is exactly where God placed them. It just wasn’t mine. Eternal value doesn’t always mean being on the mission field or working at a ministry. It’s the relationships we build; it’s how we love; it’s how we conduct ourselves when the circumstances are stacked up against us.
Wherever we are laboring or spending our money, do our words and actions reflect Christ?