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A Few Things Worth Working For

After reading a paper by the Rev Dr Fulbright and after some deliberation, permit me to share with you a short list of things which I believe everyone with good intentions will find worth working for.

The first thing I believe worth working for is a good name or a reputation for integrity, dependability and character. Is it not refreshing in this day and age to find a person who you can depend on. Sadly not everyone considers this to be important. In my profession I often encounter people who, for example, conclude contracts with little or no intention of honoring them. The persons who are deliberately dishonest or who lie or steal or kill are obviously not concerned whether they have a good name amongst their fellow men and yet even some of the most notorious gangsters yearn for a good name as their lives eventually draw to a close. It is not uncommon that in order to achieve some semblance thereof they seek out religion and forgiveness for their bad deeds. Brethren, should we then also not work towards making ourselves more dependable?

The second thing worth working for is a good education in its largest and broadest sense. This should not be limited to the formal process of instruction received in school. Should one not strive to improve one’s interest and broaden one’s horizons. Reading, travelling, conversing with someone who has something worthwhile to say and listening to good advice, often emanating from an unexpected source, is a sure way of enhancing one’s education. I once heard that a man is deemed to be well educated:

  • - when he feels the stir of a forgotten joy in the laughter of a child;
  • - when he can be happy alone amidst the hustle and bustle of life;
  • - when he can look into a puddle and see something else there besides mud;
  • - when he knows how to live, how to love, how to hope and how to pray;
  • - when he is glad to be alive and yet is not afraid to die.

I believe that education in that sense is surely worth working for.

The third thing worth working for is a good job whereby one can earn a living and by doing so, make a meaningful contribution to the society in which one lives. It has been said that if you do not find joy in your work, you will not find it anywhere else. I knew a man who only found joy in his work after the age of 55 years after he had retired from being a furniture salesman his whole working life. He then purchased an ice cream franchise with his pension money and he proceeded to make more money and have more fun in the 15 years before he died at the age of 70 than he had done during his whole life prior to that. Were those precious years in the twilight of his life not worth working for?

The fourth thing worth working for is a good home. This is not necessarily the building in which one lives or the street address or suburb. A good home is a place where there is a happy, loving and wholesome relationship between the members of the family and between them and the members of the community. A good home is where the heart is and is open to others and is where sacrifices are made when they are necessary and are accepted by all, no matter how difficult such acceptance may be. If you are blessed with a good home, extend this good fortune to those in your community who are still working towards it and you will find that good homes inevitably lead to good communities.

The final thing worth working for on my short list is a good faith. As human beings we have been created with different beliefs and outlooks on life. The traditional religious structures which used to hold that a supernatural deity ruled the world by rewarding virtue and by punishing immortality has all but faded away and a common definition of what constitutes good and evil has disappeared. One is not sure today whether the power that rules the universe is benign, benevolent or hostile. For some people, faith in the GAOTU comes easily and even naturally.

For others this faith is not that easy. They may have encountered misfortune and their bitter experiences of life have made them skeptical, cynical and apathetic. Often one then tends to rely more and more on materialistic things. These things certainly have their place in one’s daily life but one should not forget the ancient adage that man cannot live by bread alone.  There is still much insecurity in our lives and in the world in which we live, just as there was in bygone days.

Brethren, should we then not cultivate a meaningful philosophy of life which would assist us to fit into the greater scheme of things in this world and would give us hope for the future. Should we not seek to build a world where all people of all faiths will have equal access to the joys of life, where no one will be forced to live in the absence of love and where the fullness of life will not be impeded by prejudice and oppression. Brethren, if we can help to achieve this by having a good faith, then surely this is worth working for. 

Although we have employed different routes to come to the same conclusion, I agree with Rev Fulbright’s view that we should include spiritual satisfaction in setting the goals in our lives and we will then not only enjoy a full life, but enjoy life abundantly.

Wor Bro John Smith