The Worth of Work (2)


Yesterday, we talked about Solomon’s view of work as vexing and vain. Today, we’re going to see some of the vexations of labor that he observed.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 2:24) There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. (Ecc 2:25) For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

(Ecc 3:12) I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. (Ecc 3:13) And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

(Ecc 5:18) Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. (19) Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. (Ecc 5:20) For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

(Ecc 6:1) There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: (Ecc 6:2) A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

(Ecc 6:7) All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

Eat, drink and be merry, if you can, for all the good it will do you…

When we talked about Solomon’s quest for meaning in the pursuit of pleasure, we saw that one of his justifications for that quest was that he had earned it though hard work. The Bible passages in today’s study underscore that point. “Work hard, eat, drink and be merry – you’ve earned it,” Solomon says.

It’s possible, though, that God might not let you enjoy the fruit of your labors. Like the rich fool (Luk 12:20), you may amass great wealth, only to die before you can enjoy it. Financial or natural disaster might come along and wipe out what you’ve gained. Even worse, you might be the kind of person who doesn’t have the capacity for enjoyment, only for the work. And, ultimately, materialism doesn’t lasting satisfaction.

What About You?

  • Are you counting on work, and the prosperity it produces, for ultimate satisfaction?
  • Do you realize how easily it could all disappear?
  • What would your life be about then?

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