Pleasurable Toil

Ecclesiastes 2:12-7:29

“What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live, also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.” Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

This whole 13 books series is all about being the YOU that God created you to be, doing what God created you to do, saying what God created you to say. So while a song was made from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, (not to mention my second book Dandelion Season) those aren’t the verses I’m going to focus on today.

In the post, Only You, I shared a heavy reality with you. You were made for a purpose and if you’re not living out that purpose then there’s a good chance you will be vastly disappointed on Judgment Day. Today’s reading confirms that to a greater extent for me. The phrase, “take pleasure in all his toil” is repeated three times just in today’s reading. And if I remember correctly, it’s repeated all throughout Ecclesiastes – which was written by the wisest man to ever live. So surely it’s good advice.

In addition to the awaited reward for fulfilling your purpose, there is also great wisdom in taking pleasure in your work day in and day out. God has placed something on your heart that it longs to do, what is that thing? When we delight in the LORD He gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). Now I’ve heard that verse taught many different ways, but for me this verse reflects another verse in Matthew. It comes at the end of a section on worry, and while I’d love to just throw you the one specific verse and move on for sake of time. Sometimes we just need to build up to something by reading it in context. This is a message we all need to hear in every season of life!

“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34

While Solomon is harping on, eating and drinking and taking pleasure in our work, Paul is reminding us that even those basic needs of food and drink are not provided by all our toil. They’re provided by the Lord who is our shepherd so that we shall not want. The Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his friends the sheep and leads them beside still waters. When we delight ourselves in our shepherd, He takes care of us. Not when we’re working hard, but when we’re hardly working!

“He MAKES us lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:2) When we take pleasure in our work, it’s not work any longer is it?

God has made you for a purpose. When He knit you together in your mother’s womb, that purpose was sewn into your very being. At the very core of who you are there is a desire that surpasses all others.

Jesus promises us, through Psalm 23, Matthew 6 & Psalm 37, that when we pursue Him and His purposes for us He will provide for our needs AND our wants. Oh what a mighty God we serve!

If there is something in your heart to do and the fear of not having enough money is keeping you from letting go and doing it. Pray about that. Perhaps God is calling you to a leap of faith into His faithful arms.

I have a friend who hasn’t gotten a paycheck for YEARS because she has been doing what God put on her heart to do. And yet she has never been without food or drink or clothes BECAUSE GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR HER. And if He’s willing to do It for her, then He is CERTAINLY willing to do it for YOU!

Categories: 365 Life, Ecclesiastes, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Pleasurable Toil

  1. Brenda J. Milthaler

    Hi My Friend:

    Thank you for encouraging others with how God has supported me. Also, I love the bird and the cat pictures.

    In Christ,


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