Have you ever said, “I HAVE to go to work today?” Well, I made that mistake a few years ago and a couple of nice, young men half my age with more wisdom than I had on this subject (and probably many others!) gently and respectfully rebuked me. And I am SO glad they did!
They immediately asked, “Did you mean you GET to work?” Their question took me off guard and then the truth began to sink in. Their wise parents had taught these boys that working is a privilege to be enjoyed… not a burden to be endured.
I’m sure their parents had taken heed to what the wisest man (King Solomon) on earth (besides Jesus, of course) had written thousands of years earlier. But they had gone a step farther and also taught their children this truth. Isn’t that a gift? They knew these young men would need to provide for their households one day so they taught them to have a good attitude about it.
Solomon said, my heart rejoiced in all my labor. (Ecc. 2:10)
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. (Ecclesiastes 2:24)
Did you notice that little phrase, “make his soul enjoy good in his labor?” It sounds like this is something that probably doesn’t come naturally. We have to work at it. (No pun intended. )
Again in Ecclesiates 3:13 Solomon says, And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.
Solomon points out that working just to get rich won’t satisfy anyone.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver: nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. (Ecc. 5:10)
Ecc. 5:19 says, Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor: this is the gift of God.
Solomon tells us to work hard with a good attitude and to do our best in this life.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecc. 9:10)
Paul also admonished the believers in Colossae that whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. (Colossians 3:23) If we find it difficult to work for our boss, then we need to work hard for the boss’ boss… which is God!
Solomon sums up the book of Ecclesiastes in the last couple of verses. He tells us that the bottom line is to…
Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecc. 12:13 14)
We started teaching our children to help out when they were small. At first it would have been easier to have them go off and play instead of “helping,” but they learned quickly and liked being part of the solution and contributing to the family. When children are given chores to do when they are young, they accept it as a natural part of life. If they do not practice working when they are young and experience the satisfaction it brings, they will not suddenly be thrilled about working when they turn sixteen years old.
My parents taught me to work hard as a child and I’m so glad they did. It makes me feel better about myself. It has given me confidence about the future because I know I can work hard if and when it is necessary because I’ve done it before.
But I think the word work still held a negative connotation until the boys set me straight. Now I try to remember what a blessing it is to be able to get out of bed, walk, move and get things accomplished.
I hope this has been good food for thought. I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about work. I plan to add a Part 2 to this subject soon so be looking for it.
Whistle while you work,
P.S. A Part 2 is soon to follow!