Work: The Payoff Beyond the Paycheck

Illustration of father and son raking leaves
Tim Bradford

My son, Salem, and I had been watching a football game together when he abruptly announced, "I wanna play pro football so I can buy a big house when I grow up!"

Interesting, I mused, that making a lot of money is why he'd want to play football. Why would that be his primary motivator?

I noticed we were both sitting among a sea of ads from the Sunday newspaper. The proverbial lightbulb came on, and I asked myself, Have I inadvertently communicated to my son that the sole purpose of work is to have money to purchase more things?

We work hard to provide for our families and to model a strong work ethic. Our kids see our dedication to work in the time we give to our jobs and in the satisfaction we derive from our efforts. But what our children might not discern as readily is what we're working for.

We live in a culture that views the accumulation of money and possessions as the chief goal of work. But as fathers who are purposing to raise young men and women who follow Jesus, our job is not only to model a strong work ethic but to teach our children the godly motivation for it, as well.

Here are a few ways to model for your child that work is about more than the paycheck:

Work to benefit others

Do your children assume that the only "work" you do is at your paying job? Engage them in work that serves others. You might invite your kids to join you raking a neighbor's lawn or gathering canned goods for a food bank.

Work to steward the gifts you've been given

Let your children visit your workplace to discover how you're using your God-given gifts in your employment.

Work to worship God

As you share the ups and downs of your day at the dinner table, remind your children that you work hard at the parts you enjoy — and those you don't — to honor God.

Work to bless your family

Teach your children that God is your family's good provider and that one of the practical ways God provides is through your work.

Our children are watching. Let's make sure they see us working hard for what matters most.

Joshua Becker is the author of The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own.
This article first appeared in the February/March 2017 issue of Focus on the Family magazine and was originally titled "Why Work?" If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get this publication delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.
© 2017 by Joshua Becker. Used by permission.

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