What If Money Was No Object?

A lecture from the late Alan Watts that I stumbled on at David Lose's blog the other day.  Take a look and ask yourself, "Seriously, if $ didn't matter, what would I do with my life?"

This is about searching the depths of your soul for your passion, your gifting, your calling, your talent [whatever you want to call it].  I believe that God has given us gifts - God has given each person something that makes him uniquely him, and her uniquely her.  I had a great conversation with a group of guys the other night on the topic of "giftedness."  What is it?  Is it something from God, or is it quantifiable, something the school system and others can calculate, formulate, and define?  If our true "giftedness" comes from God, don't we have a responsibility to do something with those gifts?  I believe we do.

If our gifts are from God; that is, we have been given specific gifts, talents and abilities that are uniquely ours, then we have a responsibility to work within those gifts, or better said, to put those gifts to work.

So, if money was no object, what would you do?  "What makes you itch?"  I love and hate that question as it forces me to actually take stock of my life, which is both a scary and exciting endeavor.  And once you've identified that which truly gives you life, that which makes you itch, what could possibly keep you from its pursuit?

Final word:  I'd love to hear about someone seriously doing something about the issue raised in this video.  Specifically, the arguments raised that...
1) many of us are "doing things we don't like in order to live longer doing things we don't like."
2) "we're bringing up our children to do the same."  

I hope to have the courage to live differently; to truly examine my life, and to encourage my children to follow their dreams; to truly discover what gifts God has given them and be brave enough to pursue a life that puts those gifts to work for God's glory and our neighbors' good.

May you do the same.


Pastor Ken "k2" said...

This is a very provocative topic. This is, in fact, the way I have sought to live my vocational life for the last 43 years. Some of the work I have done enabled me to make a great deal of money, other work--not so much. But as humans, we are wired for work. From the creation account to Paul's writing to the Ephesian church, we are created for work.
Given this truth, we all receive a second paycheck. I used to refer to it as the "psychic income" from my job. That second paycheck is far more important than the first paycheck once one is living above the subsistence level.
While the fall caused some of the joy to be removed from work, we still get a glimpse of God's intent through this second paycheck. I've been a follower of Jesus Christ virtually all of my adult life. God provided that second paycheck in abundance through much of my career in business. When I sensed a substantial "pay cut" in that second paycheck, my dissatisfaction resulted in exploring a break from business by going to seminary. It was only after being in seminary for almost a year that I heard God's call to vocational ministry.
So can people choose the work they do as if money doesn't matter? Once one has an income that exceeds subsistence, I believe it is possible. Then for me it becomes a matter of increasing that second paycheck.

Chad McDaniel said...

I love how you put that Ken, "second paycheck" or "psychic income"! I don't think I've ever heard it named that way before!

Kyle Johnson said...

Thanks for this, Chad. This is very relevant to what I've been wrestling with lately.

I'm still quite young so my words are closer to thinking-out-loud than thought-out conclusions, but can it be possible that the areas in which we excel are not the ones that make us itch or provide the greatest second paycheck?

Giftedness is often used to describe excellence, but can what we do well distract us from our "true callings"? Are we called to be both efficient and joyful? And will they come from the same source for everyone, or will some need to compartmentalize to fully live?

I that we all have several gifts, and it is very exciting to have the freedom to choose which to nurture and offer to God, but also terrifying to bear the weight of the responsibility to choose.

Chad McDaniel said...

these are great questions you ask Kyle! i'm especially wrestling with the question about what you excel at as compared to what makes you itch. i think that's where the second paycheck idea really comes into play. it's possible that what you excel at is what you do to earn the right to pursue that which makes you itch. if that makes sense! i think the point of the video, and the point of the post, is that if you're simply doing work for the sake of doing work and it's draining you of joy, life, or the energy to pursue the things that make you itch, then QUIT! what's the point?!

your final two questions remind me of the discussion i was having with some guys the other night. is it wrong or somehow irresponsible to do something that doesn't utilize your gifts? what is "giftedness" anyway? we were talking specifically about kids who are labeled "gifted," and the sort of burden that can put on them. what does it really mean anyway?

i think with this post i'm trying to shift the idea of giftedness away from "excellence" or someone being more "special" than another, to the idea that EVERYONE has gifts and EACH gift is important in its own way.

hope something made sense in there!