Do you ever feel like you work and work and work to just get by in life? No matter how hard you try, you still end up fighting to bridge the gap from one paycheck to the next? You sit at home at night and think to yourself, “What is it that I’m doing wrong? Why doesn’t anybody else struggle with this?” I think this is common and even understandable. However, let’s take a look back in time to get a better handle on what is really going on.
Walter Rauschenbusch states that “history is never antiquated because humanity is always fundamentally the same. It is always hungry for bread, sweaty with labor, struggling to wrest from nature and hostile men enough to feed its children. The welfare of the mass is always at odds with the selfish force of the strong.”
So, this is not a new problem after all. I mean, I feel like this resonates in my own personal experience. We work and work and work to provide for our families and often end up with just enough to hold us over until we go to work again. The temptation is to apply this plight only to our own lives. I must be the only one. Why can’t I get it together like everyone else? Yet, Rauschenbusch reminds us that this is one of the great historical roadblocks in society.
How do I provide for my family without taking away from my neighbor? How does a person contribute to his families needs without becoming a part of the selfish force of the strong?
Scripture lends us some understanding in regards to this dilemma. After the inception of original sin, God declared this to Adam:
Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return. (Gen. 3:17-19, NIV)
See, this is not a new problem. People have had to struggle through life as a result of sin. Now, if you are not a believer, this truth may or may not hold weight with you. However, as a believer, I have to learn to work within this truth. Hard work and labor is required.
Your next thought is probably in regards to people that make it out of this trap. Many people have found a way to get rid of that pay gap. They have found that security that seems to contradict everything that has been stated to this point. Maybe you are in this position. You are comfortable in your life. You have needs, but they are not nearly as urgent as they used to be. What now? Rauschenbusch suggests that your struggle might be in the welfare of those around you.
If your hard work puts you in a position to be ahead in life, take a moment to consider how you can benefit others. God has blessed you with an excess in life that you can use to bless those around you.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.