The Eccentric Sheep Musings: When Work Feels Meaningless
Ecclesiastes 2: 20-23, “So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.”
My last full time job was at a laboratory. I had a tendency to hoard all the papers that I wrote my experiment results on. I had accumulated all the work I had done at this place through these papers piled up high on a desk and in a drawer. All the work and toil I had been through for this place of employment was represented on those papers.
I was laid off from this job a little over a year after I had started. That is the risk you take working in the oilfield. During the ups and downs of the prices of oil, you can become a casualty of a down period when they have to let people go. So as I cleaned out my cubicle that last day of work, I had to clean out all of those papers. Those papers that represented all of my labor at this place became nothing but garbage as I tossed them all out before I walked out the door for the last time. Everything I had done for this place over all those months became meaningless papers in the trash.
I have become a bit disheartened after doing this on more than one occasion. Being let go and watching everything I strived for being ripped apart and thrown away. Witnessing all my dreams wash away like the sands of the seashore.
It is very true, work is meaningless. It is something we do on this earth temporarily to support our families and have a place of purpose on this earth. We work for a while in one place and then another. People come and go in places of employment. You make friendships and soon they must depart as their path leads them elsewhere. You make your imprint on a company, and when you leave that imprint is soon wiped away as your position is replaced and you are forgotten.
What is my point? No, it is not to quit your job and don’t bother working. We were not created to be idle. We were created to endure and work and never give up. God placed you precisely with a specific set of skills to fill a place in his kingdom. Yes it is true, at times you will have to do many menial tedious tasks for wages that feels like a never ending void at times.
However, what truly matters is what you do for the kingdom of God during these temporary jobs we all face on this earth. You are a child of God representing our father in Heaven wherever you go. That is you true job. Out in the world you are surrounded by many different people who believe many different things. In all the places work takes you, showing them God through love and compassion is your most important task. Not necessarily proving that you are perfect and worthy of God’s love, but that you are broken and imperfect and God still lavishes you with love and mercy because you are his beloved child. Showing the world that grace is a gift God willingly gives them, not a wage that they must earn.
Ecclesiastes 2:24, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.”
Enjoy what God has graciously given to you. Be grateful for where he has placed you because he has created you for a purpose that only you can do. In all our temporary toil there is much work for eternity to be done. Do not forget that in those piles of seemingly important papers on your desk that could be nothing but garbage tomorrow.