What is worthwhile?

“I don’t want to just get married and have kids as my life goal–I want to do something worthwhile with my life first.”

I’m not sure exactly what I said in response. I remember saying that I will never understand how serving some corporate overlord or making some business more profitable for its rich owners is considered more worthwhile than raising children. I remember saying something about the cultural narrative that devalues children to the level of accessories. Likely I went off on a rant, as I am sometime prone to do.

I haven’t posted anything substantial in almost two weeks. One reason is that I have been having more of these conversations than usual in real life. That’s good. I try to live my life in the real world, rather than a virtual online world, as much as possible. Yet this blog is intended, among other things, to be a record and guide for my two youngest brothers, so that they may learn at a younger age the things I didn’t learn until I was in my 20’s (and am still learning).

My work by which I earn a living is one that is often held up as especially noble. I am proud of what I do. Yet I know without a doubt that what I do for a living is far less important than raising godly children. This weekend, when the words above were spoken to me, they were spoken by a young woman–a young woman who is (from what I can tell) sweet, feminine, attractive, intelligent, and young enough to be at or quickly approaching her peak fertility and marriage market value.  I have heard the same idea from my sister, who is in the same shoes and sometimes seems perturbed by my frequent assertions that she should be looking for a husband (not a boyfriend, but a husbandright now.

I think this attitude is sad when I see it in young women, but I recognize that it is often accepted without conscious thought, assimilated from the culture. In the case of my sister, I have the chance to combat it with frequent repetition–yet I recognize that I am probably the only person that says what I say to her. I can only hope it sticks.

But this blog is not aimed at young women. Rather, it is aimed at young men. And while it is useful for young men to be prepared for attitudes they will encounter in young women, it is not useful to dwell on them. Instead, the wise young man will fortify his mind with proper attitudes and perspective, so that he can effectively lead others to truth. And many young men hold to the same attitude that is expressed in the quote above–the mistaken attribution of what is and is not worthwhile or of value.

Just because the culture values something, holds it up as worthwhile, does not mean that it actually is worthwhile or of value. Conversely, just because the culture does not value something does not mean it is not worthwhile. The culture values making money, but making money for the sake of making money is not worthwhile. The culture does not value Bible study, but it is far more worthwhile than the pursuit of ephemeral pelf. Likewise, fishing with your dad is more worthwhile than driving an Aston Martin.

Young men are at least as prone as young women, if not more so, to elevate work above family. Yet I am confident that no one on his deathbed wishes he had spent a little more time at work and a little less with his family. Women may often prioritize other things above family chronologically, putting off family formation until the last possible moment before fertility is gone forever, but men often prioritize other things above family in daily life, which is just as unconscionable.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying that family is important to you, but demonstrating otherwise with your actions.

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.–Malachi 2:15 (NIV)

4 thoughts on “What is worthwhile?

  1. Well said.

    It all comes down to a question of priorities. Most Christians, unfortunately, allow the world to set their priorities. “God” is somewhere way down the list below career, money, sex, excitement…

  2. Good post.

    I am sad to say this but many Christian leaders and Christian parents no longer believe that marrying young and having lots of church going kids is a noble goal for their special princess daughters.

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