Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:1-4:16
I was excited to get up at 4:30 this morning and open my Bible to a new letter! We’re up to Ecclesiastes!
While meditating on the verse, “a time to seek and a time to lose”, from our reading today God said “Toil is meaningless” over and over. Then I had a vision of my husband and I working out together in the front yard of his parent’s former house (the house faces east we were facing west). My Father-in-law was standing near the front door of the house, facing east, watching us work. My Mother-in-law was in the side yard (which faces the south and was straight in front of us) planting a bunch of deep purple flowers next to a very tall straight tree. After this God said to me, “The gardener has prepared a place for you”, “The gardener has prepared a work for you.”, “The gardener has prepared a glory for you.” The place is your heart where you meet with Him, the work is your calling, where you serve with Him, and the glory is the end result of your time in the garden of relationship with Him.
Here are some examples from the Bible. Daniel just prayed because He loved God, yet through his relationship with God Daniel was brought to a very high position and much glory. David sang because he loved God, yet through his relationship with God David was crowned King and wrote most of the Psalms. Jesus was born a king, yet He served faithfully all His years. He toiled to keep all the Law without flaw and He did it. On the day of the cross He was crowned with thorns and the curse so that there would be no more curse of toil for us to bear. All that is left is the peace that passes all understanding. Yes, there is still hard work, but there is a big difference between hard work and toiling. Hard work brings joy when done in the peace that comes from knowing that you are doing it for the Lord. Toil is just hard work; there is no joy, peace or reward in it. When we lean not on our own understanding but acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice through everything that we do He makes our paths straight.
Yesterday I worked for six and a half hours to make chicken and noodles from scratch for a friend who needed some cheering up. But my hard work wasn’t toil, in fact it brought me much joy because I knew that I was not only working for my family and my friend but for Jesus too. Toil is meaningless, hard work is not. Work as though you are working for the Lord and it barely feels like hard work anymore either, because you’re enjoying yourself while you do it.
Hard work in the presence of the Lord is good, Toil and the feelings of pain are from the Adversary.