As young Christian men, you’re either on the brink of entering the job world or have just stepped in. You’re likely motivated to excel, not just for personal achievement but to support your future family. But as you swim upstream, it’s easy to get lost and end up with a life filled with “things” instead of meaningful relationships. How do you avoid the “I should have, could have, would have” trap? Here are three guiding principles that have served me well.
1. Work is Never-ending, But Your Time with Loved Ones is Finite
You’re probably contemplating your climb up the corporate ladder. But remember, there will always be another task waiting for you at work—another account to close, another bug to fix, another customer to please. On average, you’ll spend eight hours a day working and only about four to five waking hours with friends and family.
It’s a common pitfall: as you aspire to move up, the guy above you is also struggling to stay ahead, sacrificing his personal life in the process. Don’t let the cycle ensnare you. While ambition is good, don’t work so hard that you neglect your relationships. As the Apostle Paul advises in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, work diligently but remember that work is not the end-all.
2. Align Your Priorities: God, Family, Career
Since childhood, men are often taught the mantra of hard work and provision. While the Bible supports this view—2 Thessalonians 3:10 tells us that “a man who won’t work shall not eat,” and 1 Timothy 5:8 instructs us to provide for our families—it also asks us to keep our lives in perspective.
First and foremost, your relationship with God must top your list of priorities. Daily Bible reading and prayer are non-negotiables (Psalm 1:2). Next comes your spouse, who should be second only to God. As the Bible tells us, the two shall become one (Mark 10:8), so how can you prioritize anything above yourself? Your children follow, and then your career and other worldly concerns.
3. Think About Your Final Moments
One day, we will all stand before the Lord, but before that earthly moment comes, think about who will be beside your hospital bed. It won’t be your boss or your co-workers; it’ll be the people who mean the most to you—your spouse and your children.
As you navigate the waters of work, faith, and family, keep Psalm 37:25 in mind: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Take the Pledge
Today, make a commitment to place Christ at the center of your life and work unto Him. When you align your priorities God’s way, you’ll never have to look back and say, “I should have, could have, would have.” You’ll know you’ve lived a life that not only provided for your loved ones but also honored God in the process.