11
Mar
15

What Are You Working For?

For what or for whom are you working?  For whom do you commute to and from work each day?  Are you working for your spouse or your children?  Are you working to build a company or to make a better life for your family?  Are you working to make a difference or just to make ends meet?
How do you view work?  Is it a necessary evil?  Is it fun and enjoyable?  Is work stressful and worrisome?  Is it hard and yet yields very little in the way of results?
King Solomon viewed work as meaningless.  Look at verses 22-23:

What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. – Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 (NIV)

We work our fingers to the bone for 30-40 years and why do we toil?  We work hard to provide for our families.  We work long days in order to do a little better than our parents.  We work the midnight shift to make ends meet.  We work 2-3 jobs just to put food on the table.  Never mind getting ahead.  We’re just trying to keep our heads above water.  We’re tired and our backs ache and yet we cannot sleep because of anxiety over our work.
What does all of this work get us?  Solomon describes work with some pretty harsh words:
  • Grief
  • Pain
  • Worrisome
When we come to the end of our lives, we discover that all of our work cannot add an hour to our lives.  The overtime we worked will not have mattered.  As you are surrounded by grieving loved ones, your portfolio will be worthless to you and will eventually be fought over shortly after you pass.  What will have mattered?  Your relationships will be all that concerns you.  Your relationship to God and your relationships with others.  Why are you working?  What sacrifices are you making so that you can make more money?  Which is better to sacrifice, time or work?  Is there an expenditure you could cut in order to work a little less to have more time with those whom you love and who love you?  You cannot buy time or love.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone.  Don’t regret the time you spent working because you missed out on those moments with those whom you love.
Ecclesiastes 2:17-23 (NIV)
17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
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