Why do we work?

Good morning

As I consider my work load and tasks, some of which I simply don’t know how to start, I found myself having that feeling of being a little anxious. I guess we all feell like this sometimes if we are honest.

So I read a little wisdom from possibly one of the most wise individuals ever to live on our planet apart from Christ.

He records this in Ecclesiastes chapter 4 v 7&8: Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun: There is one alone, without companion. He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labours, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks “ For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.

This person being spoken of may have neither the drive of the workaholic nor the pleasure-seeking aims of a lazy man, but he shows no evidence of contentment either. As a person uncommitted to sharing his life with another, he is perhaps quite selfish. The description indicates that he wants to keep the produce of his labours for himself. He does not share them with a wife and family, and he has no partners or family to inherit what he leaves behind. The context also gives no indication that he enjoys the use of his profits. He simply works and exists.

Solomon’s final comment regarding this worker is intriguing: This situation is not only vanity but a grave misfortune. He seems to conclude that this is the most seriously flawed worker of them all. His description gives the impression of complete self-centeredness. Does anybody benefit from a life as devoted to the self as this worker is?

The new International Version of our Bible translates what Solomon calls a “grave misfortune” as “a miserable business.” Ecclesiastes teaches us that work can be a God-given pleasure, but this description tells us that it will not be pleasing if we work only for self-centred purposes. It counsels us to ask ourselves, “For whom am I working?” God has worked from the foundation of the earth, but He is not consumed by it (John 5:17). God has given us work at least partly for us to learn not to be self-centred, as well as to enable us to share life with others. God wants us to labour, to create wealth in the right spirit and for the right reasons. His counsel in this context is that a major reason is to create benefits for others.

Thinking on these things I must say brings my next few days into perspective and I hear the echoes of the New Testament calling “ be anxious for nothing but in all things……. Present your requests to God”

Have a good week everyone

Mark

 

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