WE ARE, of course, encouraged to be very fruitful and productive in our life. There should be no time for laziness and idleness. Even in our periods of rest, we can and should always be productive, since rest is not about doing nothing but rather about doing something different from the usual things we do which gives us some relaxation but can still be productive in another way.
Our rest should not undermine our desire and eagerness to work. Rather, it should renew us physically, mentally and spiritually in such a way that we would like to work more and be productive. In short, our rest should not take us away from our duty to work and to be productive, but would rather reinforce it.
Thus, if we are truly serious about being fruitful and productive, we should be as enterprising as possible, even entrepreneurial, quick to take initiatives and to open new ventures that can benefit many people and make a significant change in our lives. We should be able to use and optimize all our resources, natural and man-made, for this purpose.
We just have to make sure that all this is our way of giving glory to God that would translate itself to working for the common good, and not just for our own personal good. Otherwise, all that productiveness would amount to nothing and can, in fact, occasion a great danger to us, as Christ himself said: “What does it a profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” (Mk 8, 36)
At the moment, we can wonder if indeed this is the principal motive and driving force why we at present work. I have my doubts. Even a cursory look around somehow would tell me that God is often out of the picture when work is given some consideration. We need to address this issue.
We have to see to it that our efforts to be fruitful and productive are not of the opportunistic type that would take advantage of the weaknesses of the others to bolster our personal interests. Opportunistic fruitfulness is selfish or self-serving productiveness.
Rather our efforts to be fruitful and productive should address real needs of the people, not the artificial ones that, while generating some economic activity, can lead us sooner or later to anomalies like materialism, commercialism, hedonism and other isms. They should be made to clearly serve and reinforce the true and objective dignity of man.
In this regard, we should expect some sacrifices and forms of self-denial to be involved. We just should not behave according to purely economic laws that may already ignore or even contradict not so much our legal system as our objective moral law. A form of fruitfulness and productiveness that is without morality will always be fake, deceptive and dangerous.
Educating people about this attitude toward work and life in general is now a big challenge because it can readily be seen that many people nowadays, especially the young ones, do not have yet the right spirit of work. They work only for themselves, to satisfy not so much their personal needs as their “caprichos.”
I imagine that this phenomenon must be a result of years of miseducating the previous generations about the true spirit of work and about what it means to be truly fruitful and productive.
Indeed a massive effort to inculcate a good work ethic, one that instills genuine spirituality and morality, should be launched. Of course, this should not be done in a coercive way, since that would defeat the purpose. It has to be done in an atmosphere of freedom and a sincere pursuit of what is true and proper for us insofar as our work is concerned.
Of course, all this has to start in the family, before we can count on the subsidiary support of schools, parishes, offices and other entities.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City ([email protected]/PN)