Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep. (NKJV)
Ecclesiastes has a running theme about the futility of life “under the sun”. This phrase refers to a horizontal point of view, a man-alone perspective.
The “vertical” perspective brings God and eternity into the equation and looks beyond man’s plane of existence. Our hard work and daily toil takes on a whole new meaning when a vertical purpose is applied. There are wonderful benefits to be enjoyed when you dedicate your labor to the Lord.
Let’s look at the flip side of that coin first. There is no amount of money, success, notoriety or popularity achieved through work or business that will bring anything greater than a fickle, frustrating, temporary satisfaction.
We have no excuse for an incorrect perspective on this when has God provided us the perfect test case to prove the futility of labor “under the sun”. King Solomon had virtually unlimited wealth and resources. God put little constraint on his pursuit of fleshly satisfaction. Solomon’s money, businesses, enterprises and work achievements make Donald Trump and Bill Gates look like paupers.
And yet, in the end Solomon declared unequivocally that looking for meaning in life through labor was like “chasing after the wind.” In other words, it is a waste of time (without God).
How many times have you thought
that having more money would be the
answer to your problems?
Solomon declares the “abundance of the rich” keeps the rich from sleeping well at night. Money brings worry, anxiety and fear of loss. Money brings bondage and discontentment. Again, this is all true assuming a horizontal approach.
On the other hand, the righteous are blessed with the capacity to enjoy labor. This blessing includes meaning, satisfaction and a clear conscience that allows a good night’s sleep… regardless of what you have in your bank account. The Lord has provided everything for us, and it all belongs to Him. The righteous person knows that God provides perfectly and is satisfied with that.
1 Timothy 6:8-9. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (KJV)
God owns and controls ALL wealth. He could drop a million bucks in your lap today if it served His purpose.
The foundational principle of work
is not to make more money or be successful.
No, your primary focus concerning work should be to honor and obey God, and glorify Him through honesty, obedience, dependability and excellence in what you do. Like everything in life, work should be seen as a way to bring glory to God by our example to others. You work should be just another part of your day when you are communicating with God and obeying Him.
If your primary work focus is about success, the acquisition of wealth, or a search for satisfaction then you are “chasing after the wind”.
Become a vertical thinker. Consecrate your business or homemaking to God. Dedicate your work hours to His glory. Only then will you find true contentment and purpose in your daily labors.
Our God, we ask for Your wisdom about this very important part of our life. Help us to have a vertical perspective about work so that we may glorify You through it. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Why do you work? Because you have to? More money, success or achievment? Why do you have the job you have or own the business you own? Is it for you or God?
Application: So many of us, men especially turn to work for satisfaction, meaning and fulfillment. You won’t find it there. Examine your true motives about work and change them in light of a vertical perpective.