Who would have thought that reselling sneakers could be so profitable? Remus Er did. I was intrigued to read a recent news report of this teenager who, on finding that his collection of sneakers could fetch very handsome prices, decided to start a business of buying and reselling sneakers.
The 16-year-old is passionate about his business. When a new model of sneakers is launched, he wakes up at 4:00 a.m. to head down to the shops to make sure he gets a pair. He has also learnt to distinguish between authentic and fake sneakers, to ensure that he deals only with “legit” models.
At the same time, as a student preparing for his O levels, Remus knows that he has to balance school work with business. He puts in the necessary hours into his schoolwork and tuition, which I’m sure gives his parents assurance that their son is not neglecting his studies for the sake of business.
That’s what impresses and amazes me most about Remus—that he has not let his passion for his business compromise his commitment to his schoolwork.
It parallels what I see in the Apostle Paul, who did not let his tent-making work compromise his steadfast commitment and passion to the gospel. When Paul was waiting for Timothy and Silas to arrive in Corinth, he had to work to support himself, so that he would not be a burden to anyone. He did this by making tents with his newfound friends, Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:1–3).
Yet, at the same time, Paul continued to do what was most important to him—to preach and teach in the synagogue, which he did on the weekends (v. 4). One priority was to ensure that what others were preaching and teaching about Christ were not fake; Paul was well aware of the dangers posed by false teachers who were misleading the people and maligning the gospel (Galatians 4:17).
When Timothy and Silas finally arrived, they brought with them financial help from the churches in Macedonia. That released Paul from the need to continue making tents (v. 5), and to focus exclusively on making disciples for Christ. Paul was always clear about his priority, and never allowed his tentmaking work to replace his primary commitment to the gospel.
Today, it is important for us to work, so that we can provide for ourselves and our families. But, like Paul, may we learn to focus on what really matters most, and not let our work to consume our entire lives. May we learn to set our hearts on things above—on Christ—and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1–2). —C. H. Tan
Lord, help me to keep
my eyes and my heart
on You and on the things above
as I continue with my work
and commitments on earth.
Help me never to lose sight of
what really matters—You, Jesus.