Work of our hands: Choose investment avenues with a wise mind

In C.S. Lewis’ essay, Good Work and Good Works, he says,

I am doing work which is worth doing.  It would still be worth doing if nobody paid for it.  But as I have no private means, and need to be fed and housed and clothed, I must be paid while I do it.

Some of us are probably quite familiar with Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30):

It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.

Choose investment avenues with a wise mind

To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

After a long time the master of servants came back and settled accounts with them.The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five.He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come share your master’s joy.’

[Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come share your master’s joy.’

Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’

His master said to him in reply, ‘you wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

The parable of the talents is a great reminder of how we can use the God-given gifts that we possess, and that is by doing work.

“Those who till their own land have food in plenty, but those who engage in idle pursuits lack sense.” (Proverbs 12:11)

It is by the labor of our hands that we have the means to provide ourselves with our basic needs and by which our lives may prosper: “What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be blessed and prosper.” (Psalm 128:2)

The Master from the parable praised the servants who doubled the talents he gave to them, while he had the wicked and lazy servant thrown into the darkness outside. “Those slack in their work are kin to the destroyer.” (Proverbs 18:9) The Master took the useless servant’s talent and gave it to the first servant who has ten.

It is also by the labor of our hands that we can serve our neighbor as Paul the Apostle reminds the disciples: “You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way, I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20: 34-35)

And how do we carry about our works?

“Whatever your life’s work, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better,” says Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3: 23-24)

“And I saw that there is nothing better for mortals than to rejoice in their work; for this is their lot. Who will let them see what is to come after them?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Our capability to do work and to rejoice in having work is a gift from God! If we find it difficult to rejoice in our work, perhaps our work is not attuned with our passion and mission in life.

Confucius reminds us to “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Take some precious time to find the work that will provide us our basic material needs, allow us to serve others and keep us joyful and grateful in having it.

May the favour of the Lord, our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands! (Psalm 90:17)

Note: While investing your money in equities, mutual funds, or other investment vehicles, make sure you are doing it with a mission in mind. Most people follow herd mentality and only invest with big dreams of making great returns. Unless you know what you are up to and how to go about in the game of making investments, only failure will knock at your door and you will be wasting the fruits of your labor.

Marj Baynosa is a chemical engineer and educator, who loves reading and writing in her spare time, especially on finance, faith, and other seemingly mundane things.

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