Our culture celebrates workaholics. Excessive study and work become wearisome and worthless. Even pleasure and achievements have no ultimate meaning. Instead, find satisfaction in God so you can enjoy your beautiful and enduring work as you embrace partnerships, listen to God and live in the present without knowing the future.
Know the Meaninglessness of Excessive Study
Solomon said everything was meaningless and wearisome because man gains nothing with his labor. Nothing was new under the sun. Men were forgotten in future generations. God laid on Solomon, the teacher, and others this heavy burden of studying and exploring wisdom of everything on earth. What was twisted cannot be straightened and what was lacking cannot be counted. Solomon grew and increased in wisdom and knowledge more than past rulers in Jerusalem. Much wisdom and knowledge leads to madness, folly, sorrow and grief (Eccles. 1:1-18). Know the meaninglessness of excessive study to increase your wisdom and knowledge.
Find Satisfaction in God Instead of Pleasure and Accomplishments
Pleasure and great projects became meaningless and worthless. The only reward for pursuing what he desired was delight in his work. All achievements were meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Wisdom was madness and folly even though it was better than the latter. The fool and the wise have the same fate but both would be forgotten. Solomon hated life because work was grievous and meaningless. Nothing could be taken with him after he died. A fool might control the work he poured effort, knowledge and skill. Work was meaningless since it had pain, restlessness and grief. Only God could reward him with satisfaction. No one found enjoyment apart from God since He gave wisdom, knowledge and happiness to those who pleased Him. God gave the sinner the task of gathering wealth to the one who pleased Him (Eccles. 2:1-26). Find satisfaction in God realizing the worthlessness of pleasure and acomplishments.
Enjoy Your Beautiful and Enduring Work
There was a time for every activity. A time for birth and death, plant and uproot, kill and heal, tear down and build, weep and laugh, mourn and dance, scatter stones and gather them, embrace and refrain, search and give up, keep and throw away, tear and mend, silent and speak, love and hate, and war and peace. God made everything beautiful in its time. He set eternity in the hearts of men yet they cannot figure what God did from beginning to end. Nothing was better than to find satisfaction and doing good in his work as a gift from God. Everything He did endured forever since God did not add or take away anything. Man revered God for His works since He judged the righteous and the wicked who return to dust. Nothing was better than enjoying one's work (Eccles. 3:1-22). Enjoy your kingdom work since God made everything beautiful in its time to endure forever.
Embrace Partnerships in Life and Work
Solomon looked at the oppressed without comforters since oppressors had power on their side. Labor and all achievements sprang from man's envy of his neighbor. A fool ruined himself with too much work. Better to maintain a margin of tranquility than being a workaholic depriving oneself of enjoyment. Two were better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one fell down or overpowered, his friend could help or defend him. A cord of three strands was not quickly broken. Better a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who ignored warnings. It was impossible to please everyone (Eccles. 4:1-16). Embrace partnerships in life and work for protection and balance.
Listen to God for Contentment
One should guard his steps and listen before interceding when he or she approached God. Use few words and fulfill vows before Him to prevent sin and work from being destroyed. Stand in awe before God instead of many dreams and words. Do not be surprised when the poor's rights were denied since the profit motive caused oppression and injustice. Those who love money were never satisfied with their income. Increased resources caused increased consumption. The laborer slept restfully while the rich stayed awake. One cannot take money with them after they die. It was God's gift for men to enjoy their labor, wealth, possessions and lot in life being occupied with gladness of heart (Eccles. 5:1-20). Listen to God for contentment in your work and lot in life.
Live in the Present
It was also meaningless if a stranger enjoyed his wealth and high position instead of himself. It was meaningless if a fool's or wise person's appetite was unsatisfied. No one could contend with one stronger than himself. More words resulted in less meaning and profit. Who knew what was good for a man during his short life since no one could predict the future after he died (Eccles. 6:1-12). Live in the present being concise and not overreaching since you cannot predict the future.
Consider how you are managing your work life balance by rating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest in the following areas:
1. I know the meaningless of excessive study to increase my wisdom and knowledge
2. I find satisfaction in God instead of pleasure and achievements
3. I enjoy my beautiful and enduring work in building up God's kingdom
4. I embrace partnerships in life and work for protection and balance
5. I listen to God for contentment in my work and lot in life
6. I live in the present being concise and not overreaching since the future cannot be predicted
Ask God to work in those one or two areas where you scored the lowest.