By Laura Kozamchak, Bethel Seminary St. Paul
2018 winner of the 100,000 Hours Colloquy!
“Work with a purpose?” I wondered about this phrase as I pondered the Seminary e-newsletter article announcing the opportunity to participate in something called a “colloquy.” For the past several years I had hoped to find an opportunity to once again “work with a purpose,” and I had found the search arduous and exasperating. The purpose of my current job seemed clear: to “make enough money” to contribute to our household and pay for seminary. I thought this “colloquy” would be a nice opportunity—when I had “more time”—and I deleted that edition of the e-newsletter. About a year later, an announcement offering this colloquy appeared again. This time it really tugged at my heart as I read it, and, upon praying for wisdom as I ordered my fall schedule, I decided to apply. The colloquy was a chance to read four books and gather to discuss them with others pursuing graduate studies at Bethel. The books were centered on the idea of “Work with Purpose,” and was sponsored by a campus organization of the same name. The excitement with which I received the offer to join this group was confirmation to me that God was giving me an opportunity to examine an idea whose roots went deep into my life’s journey toward vocation.
Each of the four books we read were excellent, but Brad Hewitt and James Moline’s Your New Money Mindset especially impacted me in a deep way. It spoke to the very heart of my money mindset. Hewitt and Moline include a research-based assessment with this book which is accessed free online—I’ll include the link at the end of this post if you’re interested in taking it. The assessment measures the four continuums that Hewitt and Moline use to describe the aspects of our relationships with money; they maintain that the way we interact with money directly impacts our experience of freedom, community, contentment, and calling. Having taken the assessment, I have come to a new level of insight into my relationship with money and how it truly affects the way I prioritize my time.
Particularly illuminating to me was the chapter entitled “Longing for More” in which the shortfall of chasing after acquisitions was described in detail. Moline’s experience working as a clinical psychologist has shown him that a drive to acquire material goods is often evidenced in things such as not having time for relationships or failing to keep commitments and promises. As I read I was startled to see how some of these symptoms mirrored my current areas of struggle with how I manage my schedule—in other words, my life!—quite closely. It made sense, however, because out of the four areas, I showed most need to improve on the “contentment” continuum in my assessment. This chapter gave rise to a time of prayer for me, and I committed to re-align my heart to a place of greater contentment with what I have already been given. As I look forward to a vocation of pastoral work, I am often reminded of the reality that I am not going into this line of work in order to achieve a “pay raise.” I’m following a calling and sense of mission for my life. It will be crucial for me to continually cultivate a mindset of contentment and to actively practice generosity as a way of affirming that God truly will provide enough for everyone—including me—as I move forward in finding a way to work with greater purpose.
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