There is a question I’ve been asking people for many years now as a way of helping them define their sense of vocation and identity. Its not a new one – I’m sure you’ve heard it… But this morning I started considering that maybe it wasn’t the right question – or even a helpful question.
It is: ‘What would you do if money were no object?’
I was watching this cool vid on Vimeo (yeah – another busy Monday…) and as the narrator used the question, something jarred in me. As I pondered it some more I realised that there were two things that I was feeling uneasy about.
The first was the implication that ‘money is an object’ and the second was that it actually has the potential to lend itself to a quite indulgent, maybe even selfish response.
Perhaps my dreams are too simple these days, but for the most part it isn’t money that holds me back. I would love to take off around Australia again in a caravan and do some travelling combined with some itinerant ministry in the various backwater towns we might end up in. I know its hard for some of those towns to get anybody to come for a short time let alone a long time so some folks offering a hand might be helpful. I imagine the experience would be valuable for all of us.
But the factor holding me back isn’t $$, although we would need to scrape together enough to make it happen. Its a wife who really wouldn’t enjoy that life. Its two kids who would lose their connections while their old man gets to indulge some of his wanderlust. Its a community of people both in our church and locally who we would stop connecting with for a period while I go do my thing. Its my business clients who I like to look after and stay connected with.
So in reality its not money that holds me back. Its the complexity of life. Its the sense of responsibility to others – and I think that is a good thing – as well as the knowledge that my personal dreams are not necessarily shared by the rest of my family.
I think the question has the potential to imply that we are sole entities who function as individuals and it doesn’t pay attention to the wider communal impact of our actions. If we genuinely value one another then we don’t simply ‘follow our dreams’ wherever that leads because we consider how it impacts others.
So I am pondering a better question. It needs to be one that doesn’t restrict dreaming and one that helps a person’s imagination fire up, but I wonder if the $$ question is the wrong way to hit it?…