I have a brief moment of contemplation yesterday and I decided to share it here. From the record in Book of Exodus, we can see that Israelite were oppressed by Egyptian king that was afraid about the success of ascend of Israelite as they multiply in numbers.
As you have already know, Israelite is assigned heavy workload to build ancient mega-projects. Capitalism in current era, supported by virtually every economically powerful around the world operate in similar fashion. Usually this story is analyzed in theological perspective as the illustration of Christ’s liberation of humanity from sins, but today I want to highlight it from economic angle.
Egypt at that moment is almost the same as United States in current world. The same as every powerful empire, it attracts people from everywhere to stay and make the living there. Never ending desire to have more grand projects create various jobs for stonemasons, woodworkers, artisans and so on. And it was done by cheap labors and slaves. In Egypt, it was Israelite. In United States, it is immigrants from third world countries.
Afterward, God with His signs and wonders has finally delivered them from Egyptians. But strangely, Israelite complained in the desert that: “…we remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic…”. Essentially, they carved economic and physical stability provided by their work in Egypt although it literally costs them all their time.
I can imagine this is no different for expatriates like me from third world who slaves here for 60-70 hours per week working for giant MNCs and banks with salary ranged from 7000 to 15000 SGD per month. We rather sacrifice all our times to give more power to the rich people because they give us money to buy nice food to eat and luxurious lifestyle.
Even though God promised Israelite that there will be Promise Land where the nature will do all the work and essentially less busy life, Israelite still complain for the simple life in the desert. From economic perspective, they think that being employed, even by pagan king, is better than being unemployed with the King of the Universe did all works for them (providing free food (manna), free heat (fire pillar) and free shelter (cloud pillar)).
This also seems dominant attitude to Christians. The combination of protestant work ethics, economic materialism and debt-based economic system causing everybody think that being workaholic is a virtue. So called Christians think that being able to work for pagan employers (Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple) equals success while it did not bother them that all those companies are founded by atheists/agnostics.
I do not say that you should immediately withdraw from society. But at least, for me, I have a lot of opportunities to learn about meaning of life when I am unemployed for 5 months in 2009. I learn many things ranging from theology, apologetic, politics and economics. From there, I can say that I have clearer worldview on how society works compared to most of the typical clueless Christians.
You can do adjustment of your lifestyle to make it not compulsory for you to work 60-70 hours per week to big companies. 15000 dollars per month is only required if you want to have a lot of kids and buy a lot of nice properties. Considering the cost is so high to your soul, you may consider MGTOW, YOLO or prepper lifestyle. After all, you know that societal decline is inevitable due to exhaustion of resources.
Do not let workaholic ridicule you. Your identity is not defined by your work alone, but by combination of your relationship with other people, values, lifestyle and abilities. And work is not equals virtue. If God let Israelite gone unemployed in the desert while He did all major work, neither do we will be sinful if we do so.