To restore our nation we need to take the heroic journey to close the largest Gini coefficient in the world. For many, it means the battle to survive, for others becoming debt-free, and for others leaving a legacy through our accumulated resources. If this is true, why does a Song of Solomon the wise say ‘It’s useless to rise early and…’
… and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.’ Let me put two authorities alongside each other. The one from recent research by Emily Garbinsky of Stanford University and the other is Solomon and King David themselves (Psalm 127 & 128). How do both, not working hard and working hard relate to financial wellness and the restoration of our nation’s dignity?
Garbinsky highlights the strong relationship between money and power and that people who feel powerful save more money. Solomon and David add depth to what the context is for these feelings of astuteness, hard work, enjoying the fruit of one’s labour, and alas saving more.
Through a series of five experiments, Garbinsky showed that feeling powerful — defined as having control over valuable resources — is a pleasant state that individuals are motivated to maintain. And since money is the most coveted resource we have, they argue that individuals who feel powerful save money to secure their feelings of power. Indeed, they found that if power were guaranteed to be secure for life — or if power could be leveraged through another resource, such as knowledge — it did not help fill the piggy bank. The impulse to save was observed only when saving money was considered a means of maintaining power.
According to Solomon, freedom from worry comes first and then the results of empowerment through hard work follows. Quite a different mindset to hard work because of the power that the money brings: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. In vain you rise early and toll for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.’ Freedom from worry but with worried bones is key to feelings of empowerment. And the freedom of worry is by depending on God as the ultimate supplier, whilst working hard.
And then the cracker from David: From the vain of individual labour, to the joys and power through community. Authority instilled from the close knit unit of sons and fathers, wise elders, brothers that teach the uninitiated – the ultimate source of feelings of power: ‘You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours’ and ”blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; sons are like ‘like arrows in the hands of a warrior…’ They (the sons of this community of initiation), will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate (marketplace). Beautiful!