We live in a society and world that constantly robs us of our hope. People everywhere are deferring their hopes, dreams, and purpose in life to live according to a formula that society presses upon us. In Proverbs 13:12 it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” How often have you wished for a different path in life? Or regretted the choices you made to get to where you are now? If this is you, don’t worry, you are not alone. According to a new report, 53% of all Americans are unsatisfied with their job. Another poll recently taken, stated, that only 1 in 3 people would consider themselves happy in life. This would seem strange, as we live in a prosperous nation and lack very little. But yet, depression, anxiety, and stress are staples amongst many people. Millennials are even more stressed than the previous generations as student loans, fear of unemployment, and overall lack of purpose are now their new norm. A tradition of mass consumption has brought us to this tipping point and people are forced to accept it or reject it.
Worked to Death: The traditional working environment most Americans have all grown accustomed to was mostly structured during the first industrial revolution in the United Kingdom. Labor reformer Robert Owen, who posited the motto: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest,” became accepted and championed by the lower class who were suffering inhumane conditions and endless working hours. Moving a century later, to the time of Henry Ford (Circa 1920’s) and the Ford Motor Company, we see the introduction of the 40-hour work week. This groundbreaking move from Ford, paved the way for almost every other corporation to adopt the same formula. Thus, the Monday-Friday, 40-hour work week, has become the standard. The majority of jobs in America at that time were those of factory labor. A person in that era might assemble 30 car doors in a day, while another person might stitch 30 seat cushions; regardless, there was a quota based system of measurable results. Fast forward to modern times and not much has changed. Most people work 40-hours a week, and while the majority of employees today might not be assembling a car door, they are most likely sitting in a sedentary position, in front of a computer, 8-hours a day, Monday-Friday. Compound this over 35-40 years of work and you are left with a system that defers hope. And what is the alleged hope in this system? Retirement and a little nest egg of money. According to this system, while a person works for those 35-40 years, they are told to spend their money on material things like: nice cars, bigger homes, trendy clothes and other stuff that has no eternal value. The sad fact is—many squander their nest eggs and are forced to retire in modest means, which negates the purpose of the years of toil. It is a system that trades true hope for a lie, and robs you of your days. Imagine the cost the average American is required to give—they must trade their youth and prime of their lives, to work in a job setting for a corporation, or some iteration of it, and then told to defer their hope until the one day they won’t have to do it anymore. It should be no shock why so many people are unhappy with their jobs and their lives. Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
Why do people follow the Work to Death formula? The simple answer is—fear. People are afraid to step out and buck the system. The thinking is: This is the way my parents did it and their parents before them, so why not me. In our society, we are raised from the moment we first walk and talk to consume and constantly desire new material things. This creates the demand in each person, and in order to satiate that demand, he/she must supply. To supply this consumer spirit, a person must make money. To make money, you must work, and when you work for the desires of the world, you must sacrifice your freedom. As a note, there's nothing wrong with a person who works or works hard for their money, but if they are working to only find pleasure in material things, they are empty souls. It doesn’t matter if you are a billionaire or in poverty, if you are owned by the system you are owned by the world.
Everything that we are writing now isn’t a secret that has just been stumbled upon. In fact, you have probably heard people talk about their jobs like this: I am a hamster on the wheel, time to go shovel coal, back to the rat race, TGIF, Humpday, Got to go punch the clock, etc. People know the dread of such a life and rue the day. They are unhappy because in their heart they would rather be doing something else. Something real. Something with a purpose.
No one growing up says, “My biggest dream is to work a 9-5 job, for a corporation that I don’t care about, so I can retire at 65.” But rather, hopes and dreams are alive and vibrant when people are young. Children want to be astronauts, explorers, dancers, artist, etc., but once the cares and the fruitless desires of the world take hold, they defer their hope and walk into the trap.
It would be wrong to think that this is a suggestion for people to quit their jobs and wander about like monks. In fact, to the person who choses the alternate path, the road is full of hard work and filled with challenges and naysayers. But it is also a road that has true life, and a road where hope is not deferred.
If you desire to live a life of purpose, you must prioritize. This world will consume you if you do not decide what is most important. Actions are the loudest words and a display of what you truly believe. Whatever your calling or dream is, you must not delay, but take action to accomplish it now. The longer you stall, the greater chances there are that you will revert back to the comforts of a normal life. Do not let that happen. Follow your heart and become all that God created you to be. Amen.
Many years ago, we wrote these words for an episode opening, and we believe it applies to this letter, and to those who are stirred in their heart to make a change.
“You get one pass at life, to live and become all that you can, to adventure beyond your reach and discover who you are. The time we’re given is a quest; a quest to deliver the message of hope. It is a journey that leads you to the ends of the earth and to the face of the unknown. It is a life lived for ideals, where the road is uncertain and the dangers are real. It is a moment when you step out of a normal life and live for something more. It is an expedition measured not in distance, but in the everlasting. This is the story of our journey, that has brought us around the world, to witness, the moments of eternity.”
Tim & Will