Principle two of why we go to work is that we work to redirect wealth from the world’s system to God’s purposes. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.” We are to work in order to share with those in need.
God calls this laying up treasure in heaven. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6:19-21). Or, “I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteousness wealth, that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Lk 16:9). Or, “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys” (Lk 12:33).
Putting this into practice can take many forms. We may use our wealth to directly support the work of our church, or other ministries, or family members in need, etc. This principle gives us the freedom to use our gifts and talents to capture as much income as possible, because our motivation is to redirect it into God’s work. I have no qualms about reaching for my maximum salary potential when I am motivated to do so as a ministry to others. Just keep in mind our need for balance. If I am working 70 hours a week to provide money for ministry needs, I am probably doing so to the detriment of my family who need my time and attention.
Now consider this, while God teaches us to work to redirect wealth, the world teaches us to work to accumulate wealth. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’ And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’ ” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God’ ” (Lk 12:15-21).
The worldly principle of working to accumulate wealth is called foolishness by God. Wisdom redirects wealth, foolishness accumulates it for selfish reasons. We go to work to redirect wealth from the world’s system to God’s purposes.