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January 7, 2010 / beidson

Hard Pleasure: The Best Fruit of Our Toil

For those of us who may easily grow weary in doing good, remember the words of Solomon to us: “I perceive that there is nothing better for them (workers/children of man) than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live, also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

Pleasure is not the gift–pleasure in all our toil is the gift.  It is true, our work can be hard and difficult, and sometimes even fruitless as far as we can tell.  And yet, there would be much fruit in our work if we found pleasure in doing it, regardless of what we are given to do.  But that’s precisely the point–our work is given to us; it is a gift, and gifts bring pleasure.

I am sure you are tempted as I am to write off much of your life as useless and fruitless.  Even those of us who know better still find ourselves staring at a mess in the kitchen or a mile marker on the highway and thinking, “Is this really getting me anywhere?”  Yes, it is the way God will teach you to enjoy him.  You may build an ark or hear a voice out of the fire, but mostly your life will be normal, lived on dry land and even in the wilderness.

Toil is not the problem; wasting it is.  Be careful not to moan about the tedious things you have to do.  And get rid of romantic notions of pleasure, or glamorous hopes for success.  Rather do the work you have been given to do and learn to find pleasure in doing it well.  It has been given to you.  This is evidence of God’s grace to us, even as we continue to suffer under the heavy weight of the curse.  Let the fruit of pleasure sweeten every hour of you toil.  And be joyful.  There is nothing better for you than this.

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