The above statement is being expressed in the media lately. It is normally a contentious issue as small businesses and entrepreneurs try to stay afloat during the Covid 19 pandemic, and governmental regulations and restrictions becoming more stringent. The question is, which is more important, health or economical issues as policymakers grapple with the trade-off between public safety and reviving ailing economies.
It is a known fact that the coronavirus epidemic has effected the markets, global business, our workplaces, religious gatherings and daily lives. The compelling question to ask is which is more important, preserving life or sustaining livelihood? This post aims at looking at a biblical perspective and not to try and solve a secular conundrum.
Let’s look at the issue of life
Biblically we understand that life is given by God our creator. Fundamentally it is given with a purpose and can be lived as per God’s master plan. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 vs 9 – 12 has a very interesting perspective on the topic for today. It says ” 9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. 12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
In verse 10 the writer emphasises a ‘God-given task’ that all the sons of men are to be occupied with. This means that each human being has a specific task-purpose. You and I are to be occupied with this God-given task. It is our purpose in life to find out what this specific task is. This is God designed and crafted for our lives. This task is secondly linked to eternal matters. It has eternal value and not just temporal importance. It counts for eternity and will not be seen as vanity in the eyes of God.
Mark 8:36-37 New King James Version states 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
The text above exposes a life peril. We can gain the whole world, speaking about livelihood. You can live you best life now in a temporal world, which is passing away, at the cost of losing your own soul. What will a man give in exchange for his soul is the ultimate question when considering life vs livelihood. The reality in life is asking the question, what would you have gained if you lose your soul by missing God’s kingdom. Worldly success and entering the Kingdom of God is always in conflict with each other. Our first priority in life is to be successful in our God-given task.
To be born again, and a citizen of the Kingdom of God is the most important priority in life. All else is secondary and of lesser value. Scripture in Matthew 6 vs 33 explains that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Our answer to the question is found in this verse and is defined by the word ‘first’. The word first expresses priority and pre-eminence. Seeking the Kingdom of God comes first in time, place, order and importance.
So why is life more important than livelihood from a biblical sense? It is because of the fact that what if you should die today, without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? It means that your life would have been lived in vain. Your merits, rank, status and accolades would have meant nothing. What is the first priority in life? It’s to seek, worship and to desire right standing with God.
My pause for thought for today may provoke some differing opinions, which I gladly accept. Please feel free to voice your opinion or comments below if you have a thought of your own to share. I would gladly oblige.
R v Staden