Get to work; it’s a gift of God.
What? Yes! Our Ecclesiastes author says so repeatedly, at least six times, each as wrap up of other ponderings. “I don’t understand this and I don’t understand that,” he says, “but one thing I know: To enjoy my work is a gift of God.” That’s my paraphrase. It’s also become my own conclusion.
Think about it. Each of us has a talent, likely a number of talents. To put them to use gives us pleasure, focus, purpose. Without them, we’d be lumps of nothing. With, we’re engines of energy just looking for how to put them to use. That’s our work.
It was a gift from the beginning. Adam was a landscape gardener. And that was before the curse!* He may have been in paradise, but God knew he was going to need something to do. The maintenance and rearrangement of the created resources, that’s been our part ever since.
A person who has found where and how to make his particular contribution according to his own talent will never “work” another day. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Or rethink your current situation.
Work is only onerous when it’s against the grain.
Okay, it’s always a little against the grain. Very little is “easy.” There’s always at least a bit of resistance, sometimes a lot. But facing up to the challenge, overcoming the inertia, and expressing our own uniqueness in the process, that’s what we do. That’s our work, and one of our great reasons for being.
“TGIM,” that’s what Ecclesiastes says. “Thank God it’s Monday!”
Here are some direct quotes:
Six Direct Quotes
My heart took delight in all my work. 2:10
A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. 2:24
There is nothing better for a man than to be happy and do good while he lives . . . and find satisfaction in all his toil. 3:12,13
It is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor. 5:18
Nothing is better for a man . . . than to eat and drink and be glad . . . then joy will accompany him in his work. 8:15
Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might. 9:10
For Good Reason
That’s a lot of restating of the same theme. There must be good reason.
Rest is fine, diversions and entertainments have their time; but they’ll never give meaning.
Even a job that’s not particularly wonderful at least provides a rhythm to the life, a self-experssion in some way, a context for a bit of creativity, for relationship, and a part to play in some larger cause.
It’s a gift. Each of us has something, first to hone, then to contribute. The opportunities are everywhere. The garden still needs tending.
So get your gloves, get your shears, and get going.
It’ll make you who you are.
* Gen. 2:15
Next time: Things are What they Are. Coming Wednesday.