I am reading a pretty heavy read right now, "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. If you've ever read any John Piper you know his books require a lot of time and dedication to reading and understanding. So I've been reading this book for ages but it's so good. This is one point I feel like needs to be shared, and so I'm taking the time to paraphrase some things in this chapter for you. I hope it resonates with you and helps you.
Please note, he makes a point to say that some are called for "spiritual vocations" such as missionaries but that those people could not do their work without people in "secular vocations" working to support them. He does not at all have a condescending attitude towards secular work.
P.S. After writing this blog I have broken it into six parts so it's not as much heavy reading. Please read each different blog post, as it shouldn't take very long now that it's broken up. You can find Part 1 here. You can find Part 2 here. You can find Part 3 here.
4. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning enough money to keep us from depending on others, while focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial rewards. God intended from the beginning that satisfying work would provide for our needs. God worked in the beginning and the humans he created in his image would work. Before sin entered the world, that work would be without futility and frustration. When man and woman chose to be self-reliant and rejected God's fatherly guidance and provision, God subjected them to the very thing they chose: self-reliance. The curse under which we live today is not that we must work. The curse is that, in our work, we struggle with weariness and frustration and calamities and anxiety. But just as death will be a reality to the end of this age, so much we work in this fallen age against many obstacles that often make work hard. Not yet may we return to paradise and pick fruit in someone else's garden. Able-bodied people who choose to live in idleness and eat the fruit of another's sweat are in rebellion against God's design. If we can, we should earn our own living. We see throughout scripture that Jesus does not say it is wrong to earn your own living and eat your own bread, but he also says that we should not labor for food that perishes. Don't focus on mere material things in your work. Don't labor merely with a view to the perishable things you can buy with your earnings. Work with an eye not mainly to your money, but your usefulness. Labor to love people and honor God. Think of new ways that your work can bless people. Stop thinking mainly of profitability and think mainly of how helpful your product or service can become.