Yesterday, I was thinking about the work that I am doing: the studying, the writing, the learning, the teaching. I do have to confess that I have been half-way doing these things for myself: financially or otherwise. Needless to say, I constantly wanted to be in a higher position. I wanted to sell more books, I wanted more people to read this blog, I wanted to know more than others, and I wanted to be teaching.
While I was talking with God, He reminded me of a verse in Ecclesiastes.
I have often viewed this book as the journey that Solomon took to answer one question, “What is the purpose in life.” He seems to move from a very existentialistic attitude, to trying everything that claims to have purpose (wealth, intelligence, etc.), then to finding the most worthwhile thing (being a follower of God).
Just before answering the question that he asks in the beginning of his book, Solomon said something that had never before impacted me the way that it did yesterday. “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” -Ecclesiastes 12:12b.
In the past, I have used this verse as the boot of many jokes: using it as an excuse not to study for school. In reality, Solomon is speaking of his own pursuits. He obviously wrote at least three books. We only have a few hundred of his more than 3,000 recorded proverbs in our Bible, and only one of his 1,005 songs appears within its pages (Song of Songs). Just by looking at Solomon’s account in Ecclesiastes we see that he was a man who studied. He was looking for the answers of life.
Obviously, Solomon’s work was to the glory of God, yet he still claims that it “wearies the body”. This is a great encouragement to me. I seem to spend much time writing, and studying so that I can write (though I will not claim to be anywhere near as wise as King Solomon). You spend much time doing whatever it is that you are good at. We claim to do it for the glory of God, yet it has obvious benefits as well.
Solomon’s study was for himself, that he might know the answer of man’s purpose. When we work, though we claim that work is for the Lord, we worry about how popular that work will be. We worry about how that work will effect our position. In reality, we only need to think upon whether that work pleases God or not. If it pleases God, then it is worth doing no matter how popular it will become, or how it will effect your rank (or circle of influence).
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” -Ecclesiastes 12:13b
It does not matter what it takes to be famous, we live for God, not men.