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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My Work and My Worth Are Two Different Things

In review of Ecclesiastes 4:4 it says, “I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have” (GNT).

Today’s passage comes from Ecclesiastes 4:1-6. In it Solomon reminds me to think about the reasoning and motivation of working hard to succeed. His statement is that he observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, is meaningless, like chasing the wind. Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin. And yet, its better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.

In this world, it seems some people are lazy while others are workaholics. Lazy people, seeing the futility of dashing about for success, idle away their time and hurt both themselves and those who depend on them. Workaholics are often driven by envy, greed, and a constant desire to stay ahead of everyone else. Both extremes are foolish and irresponsible. The answer is to work hard but with moderation. Take time to enjoy the other gifts God has given, and realize that it is God who gives out the assignments and the rewards, not me.

I’m certain that I can come up with many excuses for overworking. Sometimes I blame it on providing for my family. Other times I insist my work is so important that to slow down would be negligent.

But usually, it’s a values problem. I start valuing the wrong things. Specifically, when I value the acquisition of stuff above all else. The Bible says, “I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have” (Ecclesiastes 4:4 GNT).

God says I have two options: I can either spend all of my time keeping up with the Joneses, or I can forget them and reduce my stress level. But I can’t have both. That’s how this becomes a question of values. Do I want more stuff, or do I want less stress and more time with family and friends? The choice is mine.

Jesus said it like this: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36 NIV). To put it in modern language, “What good is it to become president of my company but lose my family or my wife?” The simple answer? It’s not good at all. My work and my worth are two different things. I work harder and harder, but no matter how hard I work, it’s never enough. Just about the time I start to relax, I hear a haunting voice telling me, “Keep pedaling. You’re getting behind!” I need to get rid of the voice. It’s feeding me a lie.

When my life comes to an end, I’m sure I wouldn’t say, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” I need to think about my motivations and purpose. It may be time to adjust my values? Don’t be a rat. Jump out of the race.  

Bottom Line:
People work hard to succeed because the envy things their neighbors have.

What this means to me:
What is the purpose and motivation in my working hard to succeed, is it because of some envy of what I see others have?

Father as I am again in the midst of a lot of activities and demands on my time, I ask for your wisdom to handle them to the best of my ability and in a right manner. In Jesus name I pray, amen!

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