Devotional: September 7, 2020
After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives your life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift!
Ecclesiastes 5: 18-19. The Message
Happy Labor Day! On this day when our nation celebrates all those who labor, it seems appropriate to consider a scriptural passage about the subject of labor.
Here, the writer of Ecclesiastes, sometimes called “The Philosopher”, encourages a balanced view of life. First, he tells us to take care of ourselves. Self-care is not being selfish. We all know our human bodies have physical limits. He is telling us to listen to our bodies, for the signals that it’s time to rest, and care for yourself.
He then encourages us to have a good time, to enjoy life. It is said that laughter can sometimes be the best medicine. A good laugh with friends or family, watching a television show that brings happiness, and even sometimes a distraction from difficult times, is healthy. Our bodies really do better when we have the opportunity to enjoy and reflect upon our blessings. Have some fun.
The writer also encourages us not only to make the most of whatever job we have, but to give delight in that work. I realize that for some people in certain jobs, that is not an easy thing to do. What I believe he is really saying is to find the glass half full when it comes to laboring. Be grateful to have a job. Then, truly try to make the best of it. Often by doing so, one may find themselves moving into another position, which can ease the frustrations.
Work has beneficial effects besides providing us with a livelihood (money, income, etc.). Simply put, most of us have bodies designed to do work. It is not good for our mental or physical health to live a life completely free of work. Work often provides a routine in life, which helps to make us feel purposeful. As our bodies age, the type of work we can do evolves. Yet there is still mental work that can challenge our minds.
When we have labored, we are then encouraged to enjoy the fruits of our labor. That is also vital to our mental health. It truly is like a circle: work, laugh, rest, work, laugh rest….. Each phase helps us with the next. In Genesis, we are encouraged to find a Sabbath in our life. It does not have to be a Sunday. Any day can be your Sabbath from work, but try and find one.
Today, we celebrate the fruits of our labors. Thank you to all who are working today, hopefully they will have a day to rest at a later time.
May you enjoy a blessed Labor Day!
Thank You, Lord, that You care for every detail of our life. Thank You for encouraging us to live a balanced life, in order to be better equipped to serve You. Keep us mindful of the blessings You daily provide for us. Help us to love and serve all of our neighbors. Our desire is to honor You in all we do and say, including our labors. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.