Many Millennials and members of Gen Z are struggling because they have been conditioned by overnight YouTube sensations and viral memes that turn their peers into social media celebrities.
They are bright, talented, passionate and willing to work. But they are wary of wasting time and energy on any endeavor not promising guaranteed results.
Members of our younger generations struggle to value diligence and devotion as virtues in their own right, and perhaps with good reason. Many of them are critical of the kind of corporate greed and capitalistic profiteering they have witnessed in their world.
This observation reminds us that the value of hard work must be determined not only by an individual’s motivation but also by the results that such an investment of labor will produce.
Without God-led motives that seek to fulfill God-given dreams, our efforts are wasted. When greed causes us to “push our plows” as is referenced in the Bible for more, any harvest we reap will never be enough.
Clearly, building bigger barns or renting more storage units is not the answer. The motive behind our willingness to push our plows each day matters, but it must be coupled with a meaningful goal.
In the Christian Bible it says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval” (John 6:27).
We must ask ourselves about both the motivation and the end result: Why are we doing the work we are doing? For whom? For what goals or results? Even criminals and terrorists work hard to fulfill their schemes, but their motivations—greed, power, vengeance—and their accomplishments—theft, murder, espionage—lead only to that which spoils.
The kind of plow-pushing that leads to mantles of promotion can have only one motivation: love, gratitude and trust in the living and almighty God.
Our motivation should originate in the relationship we have with our heavenly Father.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, executive producer of “Breakthrough” with 20th Century Fox and a bestselling author. CNN and FOX News have called him “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement” and TIME magazine nominated him among the 100 most influential leaders in America. His newest book, Your Mess, God’s Miracle (Chosen Books), will be released in Spring 2023.