The Meaninglessness of Work

Last updated on October 31, 2023

“I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)

The meaningless things I’m mentioning aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves. It may seem surprising for me to describe something as important and noble as work as meaningless.
After all, God Himself works, and created a perfect world where mankind happily worked: Adam as a gardener and Eve as his helper. Sadly though, as a result of our rebellion against God, and fall into sin, work, although it is still intrinsically good, has become cursed. By the sweat of our brows we earn our daily bread, and work is often frustrating.
As Solomon found with so many of the things in life that people idolise, work is a good thing that mustn’t be turned into a ‘God thing’: to take God’s rightful place upon the throne of our hearts.

It was all very well building palaces, gardens, and even the temple of God in Jerusalem, but the son of David realised that nothing he built was going to last. He knew he wasn’t the promised Son of David whose Kingdom will endure forever. That honour of course goes to a humble carpenter from Nazareth, who also happens to be the eternal Son of God.
‘Almighty Lord, may we live and work for You rather than ourselves. Thank You for completing the work of salvation on our behalf. May we trust in You always, for Your eternal praise, amen.’

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