“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil (emphasis mine). This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
In contrast to a contemporary view of work as something to be avoided, from a Biblical perspective, hard work is good because it brings joy. The world speaks of “Monday morning blues,” suggesting that we should all be a little depressed Monday morning. “Hump day” references the middle of the workweek, as if one needs to climb a mountain (or a camel’s back) just to get to the midpoint and then coast along until the coveted “week-end” arrives. We’ve even got a restaurant called “TGI Fridays.” Thank God It’s Friday? Shouldn’t we be thankful for every day? Seems we’re advised to disdain the majority of the week.
The truth about work.
By contrast, Solomon speaks of “nothing better,” and “enjoyment in (a man’s) toil.” He says it’s “from the hand of God.” I love this last statement. A loving Father, giving gifts to all – and with toil qualifying for honorable mention. It’s truly tragic that we’ve been persuaded to think of the “work-week” as time that we shouldn’t enjoy. Most of us have practically been conditioned to look forward to “retirement” and lament that it doesn’t come sooner. On both micro and macro levels, we’ve been duped.
Hard work is good.
Adam and Eve knew work even before the fall. They “tended” the garden in which God had placed them (Gen. 2:15). Of course, the nature of work changed when they transgressed His one, simple command. But consider this: After the fall of mankind, work is still good. So says Solomon in God’s book of philosophy. I wonder just how good work was before the fall, before sin entered the world. And how good will it be when all things are restored to what they once were? “Work?” you ask, “in heaven?” You betcha, and it’s going to be glorious.
Hard work brings joy.
Would you think me extreme, were I to suggest that our tendency to dislike work is a ploy of the Adversary to strip us of one of God’s greatest blessings? The father of lies (John 8:44) wants you to loathe hard work; the Father of Lights (Jas. 1:17) wants you to find great joy in it.
While I’m sure entire volumes have been written on the subject of how to find joy in one’s work, I have a simple exhortation. Determine that the work you do is God’s calling, even if at least for today. Ask Him how you might serve Him today, with purpose, in what He’s given you to do – whatever it may be; and trust Him with tomorrow. Whether it’s leading a country, pastoring a church, baking bread, playing professional basketball, or pursuing academics towards various potential outcomes, pursuing these things with fervor pays off.
Henry Ford once said, “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” If you’ve ever chopped your own wood, you know it’s true.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
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