Being Glad

This week’s devotional is a post shared by our dear brother, Paul Kim, and shared with permission. May God receive glory and may your spirit be encouraged today.

When Pastor Richardson asked me to write this week’s devotional, I was excited, and then, I was anxious. I thought and searched, prayerfully, examining my everyday life, and after days of stressing over it, I realized the topic of money was something that God was pressing on my heart.

This became definite to me as I was in a Panera Bread with my girlfriend, writing and working on a story. There was a table near ours with college students studying for their exam — they spoke loudly enough for me to hear everything they were saying, they were not being rude, but the place was merely quiet.

I learned that these students were all studying to go into medical fields. They complained about all of the courses that they were taking, the exams they had to take for further education after college, and things of that nature. Then, as they were taking a break, they talked about salary; how much a doctor would make in a public hospital compared to a private office. And one of them, he urged the others to definitely work at a private office because the pay would be much better than what a hospital would be able to offer them.

Now, I do not know if what he said was true, but hearing it began to make my heart weep. Not that these students were mean or selfish people, but it broke my heart that all of us, ever since we are little, we are subjected to this ideal of the world that simply put, money is very important. It is a part of every life decision that we make, and not a day goes by without us thinking about it. And it begins to seep into our hearts, and it affects us in our hopes and dreams, and in the ideals that God has planted within us.

Even during the last few weeks, I stressed out about money as a writer, and my writing began to be affected as I tweaked things here and there to make things a little more epic and spectacular, becoming unsure of my writing, downplaying the truth that I wanted to convey. And just like that, it is so easy for us to become enslaved to it, without us ever realizing it.

In Ecclesiastes 5:18–20, it says:

“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him — for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work — this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”

First, I think it’s important to realize that God is a worker. He does not dally and is not idle, but he continues to work in our lives, and has been working since the beginning of time. Just us being alive is proof itself that he is a worker; creating us, building us, and shaping us. And we are called to be workers as well; it is our lot.

What he promises us is I think where our hopes should lie. When it is written towards the end that, because the worker is so occupied with the “gladness of heart”, that we would not need to reminisce or be nostalgic, long for what was and what could have been.

Due to money, there are times where we deviate from what God has in store for us. There are many times where I whine and complain and tell the world that if I had money I would no longer need to worry and that life would be easygoing, and perhaps, that is one of the biggest traps that the enemy could lay for us. As we work arduously all our days, as we are centered on Christ, and solely directed by Him, we actualize ourselves through these tiresome works. Yet, with money, we work for it, lose sight of Christ, and never get to actualize ourselves, not to mention that we lose the gladness of heart that God speaks of. And it is not that we will be miserable through these works, but as I mention again, we are told of the “gladness of heart” that will enlighten us.

In the same chapter, verse ten says,“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” It is a constant struggle, recognizing that money is definitely not everything, but the fact is that we do need it. Temptation lurks every time we think about money. Yet, I want to encourage us to think of the “gladness of heart” that comes with working as God instructs us too; though our time here is short, that there will be value in our works through Christ, greater than any amount of wealth that can be given to us by the world.

- Paul Kim