READ: Ecclesiastes 2:18-23; 4:4-6
- After lauding all his accomplishments (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11), Solomon decries the efforts of trying to live wisely (2:12-17), since the wise share the same fate as the fool. Then, he disparages the very work that achieved the accomplishments. After all, all the advancements the toil provides merely gets left to the next generation. And, Solomon bemoans, who knows if they will take care of it. Vanity.Vexation.Striving after wind.
- But work is good. God gave it to us before the fall in Genesis. Some have suggested that work is inherently evil because God assigned it (and cursed it) after men fell in the Garden. But, God had already given men and women work to do which gave their existence meaning and purpose. It was part of the “very good” that came at creation. So what’s Solomon’s problem?
- It appears that Solomon gave himself to work. It became his life. His career became his identity. That we know doesn’t work. We’ve seen it over and over again. Men and women have made their universe (their family, spirituality, service) revolve around their career. They accepted promotions and moves in order to climb the corporate ladder. Usually, they suggest that it’s for the family. Often, it wreaks havoc in the family. Promotions are not bad. Moves are not bad. Selling your life to your career—that’s bad.
- Describe a time when you have given yourself to a job that ultimately impacted you and/or your family negatively.
- How do you describe the blessings of work?
- What questions do you encourage people to ask before they accept a new promotion?
PRAY: Thank God for your work. Pray that your work doesn’t control you. Ask God to help you find meaning outside your work.