Proverbs 12:11, Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
This proverb seems to be calling to mind the issue of being content with what God has given us. As a college student, I can relate to this a lot. College students experience a lot of discontent in their lives because we’re at an “in between” stage of our life. We’re mostly focused on what’s ahead in the future and forget to focus on where we are in the present. We often think about what we’re going to do rather than what we ought to do right now. To make it worse, our parents and the economy throw the unrealistic expectation upon us to work full-time while going to school full-time; realistically, it’s just not possible. But maybe you’re not a college student. Maybe college was a long time ago for you, but you find yourself constantly worrying about the future and not focusing on the present. There’s so much we want in life, whether they’re materialistic desires or relational desires. So, how do we be content with what God has given us?
God has given you your land—your lot of where you’re at right now. If you’re a college student, for these next four years of your life (or fewer if you’re not a freshman), your job is to do well in school, and that means being unable to make enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle, albeit temporarily. If you’ve been out of college for a while now, focus on what God has called you to do vocationally in your job/retirement and in the church; that is what you are to do in the present. How, then, do we be content when we want so much more?
It is our duty to work our land—to stay busy in order that we may survive. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to relax when time allows, but some worthless pursuits could be watching that football game instead of spending time with family, or they could be playing video games instead of doing homework, or they could be allowing family requirements to take time away from your job. For example, in the past my brother and my friends would want to play the video game Destiny with me by doing what’s called a “raid,” which would take anywhere between 3 to 6 hours of gameplay and I would have to compensate for lost time. Eventually, I gained the fortitude to say no and put the video games aside until I had proper time to play them.
Because of my various duties as a college student, I am sometimes discontent with the little amount of time I have in doing the things I enjoy. Instead of being content and trusting God will give me the necessary recreation and giving me the strength to continue my work, I take it upon myself to make room for leisure activities at the expense of my university duties. Instead, I need to trust God will give me rest (see Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus recognises our hard labour, and He provides us rest when we come to Him and trust Him. Consider also what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34:
“Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
There is a high degree of uncertainty for the college student. Indeed, it is so for many of us. You never know what tomorrow may bring or what will come after graduation, or what will come next in your current job, or what else there is to do in your retirement. Yet Jesus tells us not to worry. He calls us to trust Him. Our Father in Heaven is fully aware of all our needs. He takes care of the rest of His creation. So how much more will He take care of us, who were made in His image and furthermore, were adopted as His children in baptism? Therefore, work the land the Lord has given you, who knows all your needs and will supply your needs as you need them because as He is your Father, He takes care of His children.