Ecclesiastes 2 - Joy in Work

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 - Who hasn't, at some time or another, thought that just a little more income or even just a one time windfall, would make our lives so much better. I know I do.

Solomon had the luxury few of us will experience, the financial ability to run after whatever his heart desired. There was no "If only ...", he had the means to do whatever he wanted, and he did. In the end he found that it "all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun".

Ecclesiastes 2:13 - "there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness" Not all the meaningless toil is equally meaningless.

So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
I've felt this way sometimes. What good is life, all that I value and strive for, all that is important to me will be gone and unremembered not long after I'm gone. What's the point?

Actually, verse 18 captures more of how I've felt: "I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun". But Solomon hated it because fo what would become of it, I just hate to work. If it's all just going to decay and break, why bother? Why not just sit on the couch?

But I've learned that there is joy and contentment in work, which, honestly, ticks me off. Case in point, yesterday I was faced with projects to get done and I really just wanted to relax. Our disposal had sprung a leak, the patio furniture needed to be put away and the last lawn treatment needed done. The others could be (somewhat) safely postponed, but an unusable kitchen sink wasn't going to fly, so i got to work. I diagnosed the problem, went to Home Depot and got the new one, installed it and replaced the dripping faucet flex line. I also picked up some weatherstripping for our entry door and got that replaced. I took advantage of the warm evening and got up on the roof to put up the Christmas lights (don't worry, they won't get turned on until Thanksgiving).

I never got to the patio funiture or the lawn treatment, but today I awoke refreshed adn content in a way that I normally do not. God has made us to work, and in that work, even as temporary as it may be, we find contentment and fulfillment. It ticks me off because my way is different. I want to lounge, to indulge, to be lazy. It's a lie and a seduction, however, because he call of relaxation instead produces anxiety. The restlessness that comes from living outside of God's purpose. God is at work and he created us to be at work as well.

Solomon realized this as well:

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God ...
The joy is in the act of working, not in the results of the work. Like so much in the world, it's backward from our understanding. We work for the end result, He works for the joy in working.

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5 Comments

The link in the email notification did not work correctly. Im not sure what the problem is. I ended up getting here by clicking on a link in the error page.

Thanks Brian, I'm having a few issues with the new template set. Commenting works, but there are weird things going on in the page when you comment (maybe you noticed).

I guess I can add notifications to the list too.

Im like you, I react to home chores initially with resentment because all I want to do is relax. But when Ive made myself do whatever needs to be done I feel more relaxed. And my wife does too.

This was simply excellent Doug.. I copied it and sent it to my son.

So often we get so focused on results we miss the joy of achieving the results and the end result is a bit empty.

Thanks Bob, I hope it helps him.

Credit goes to my minister to starting me down this line of thought. Several months ago, he challenged me to be about that which God has made em to do. He remarked that he could tell when I wasn't, I get anxious.

(I also noticed that I'm not paying enough attention to Firefox's real time spell checker. :-P)



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  • Thanks Bob, I hope it helps him. Credit goes to my minister to starting me down this line of thought. Several months ago, he challenged me to be about that which God has made em to do. He remarked that he could tell w...

  • This was simply excellent Doug.. I copied it and sent it to my son. So often we get so focused on results we miss the joy of achieving the results and the end result is a bit empty....

  • Im like you, I react to home chores initially with resentment because all I want to do is relax. But when Ive made myself do whatever needs to be done I feel more relaxed. And my wife does too....

  • Thanks Brian, I'm having a few issues with the new template set. Commenting works, but there are weird things going on in the page when you comment (maybe you noticed). I guess I can add notifications to the list too...

  • The link in the email notification did not work correctly. Im not sure what the problem is. I ended up getting here by clicking on a link in the error page....

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