Enjoy Your Toil

selective focus side view photo of a woman with her eyes closed resting her head in water

A Pew Research poll shows that about half of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. Considering the amount of time during our lives we spend working combined with how short life is, it really should matter whether we are happy or not. Ecclesiastes reminds us that life is short and things are “meaningless” in the grand scheme of things. Chasing after money can be vain and “he who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV).

“Sweet is the sleep of a laborer” (vs.12) but “the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” In other words, rest is a gift to those who work hard and know when to finish. But if a person is chasing money and his stomach is full, he will never rest because he’s always chasing the next big thing.

There’s something to be said about taking time to rest and enjoy the fruit of our labor: “Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot” (vs. 18). Yes, we should work hard but we also should take plenty of time to rest and enjoy the fruit of our labor. When we are satisfied, our quality of life is dramatically improved and people around us notice our joy!

Commit Your Work To the Lord

faceless woman working with soil in garden

Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” All throughout the Bible there is a call for people to work hard. But again, it’s not for the sake of a paycheck. ALL of our work should be committed to the Lord. We do this because it is God who provides. What would happen if we made a pledge to commit every hour of every day to the Lord, if everything we did was committed to Him?

So often we plow looking back. We think about what could have been, what should have been, and human nature is to get envious of what others have. But God’s ways are certain. He wants us to plow looking forward. He tells us to devote everything to Him and he will bless the fruit of our labor so we can assist others. For example, Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” We should give our work our all, and do it all for God.

Colossians 3:23-24 likewise says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” We are serving Christ through our work! In other words, when we serve others we are serving Christ himself.