It’s Monday; you’ve chugged two cups of coffee, and already want work to be over with — and it didn’t even start yet. You look at your watch to see how many free minutes you have left to yourself before you clock into the corporate slug-fest (or so it feels). You do so, and the boss already has a mountain of stuff that he was supposed to do piled up on your desk. Hello 1980’s.
Yes — now and days it may not be so much like this for working people. You have computers now and whatnot, yet the feelings are often the same. “Why do we have to work?” Why do we have to hustle and grind?
While many have spoken on the purpose of doing and working — there is one dude from the catacombs of history that I feel hasn’t been given a lot attention for his thoughts on the subject. I’m speaking of the writer of Ecclesiastes — that reportedly being King Solomon.
Ecclesiastes is a book I’ve read quite a few times; on first glance it is quite droll and melancholic in tone. It can make a great big bowl of gloomy pudding on a sad summer day if you don’t understand the point of the author.
I mean for goodness sake… who the heck starts off a book or a letter like this?
“Meaningless! Meaningless!”Ecclesiastes 1:2, NIV
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
Hold up! I thought you read scriptures to be encouraged, or to find holy advice! Well… you can; you will find that in it, but scripture is mad practical more often than one would think — for a book over a thousand years old. Just read down a little bit further.
What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.Ecclesiastes 1:3-11, NIV
This is GOOD STUFF right here. You have an ancient person talking about the process of going through the motions of life. You have the richest ancient king in scripture writing, and he is describing something EVERYONE goes through from the top to the bottom of the social totem poll, himself included. THE GRIND.
Working, toiling, striving… for what? What is the reward of this activity? Why do some have the hand of Midas with whatever they do and others struggle for the rest of their lives to make their work count? The “Teacher” was deeply bothered by this question to say the least.
Without going through the entire book the gist is pretty simple. The “Teacher”, as he is called — tells of his quest to try everything he can do in life that is good; amass whatever he can that is good in life, and after going through some deep ruminations — he finds out it is basically all for diet crumb cake. Zip. Nothing. All a passing wind. A fart in outer space…. You get the picture.
One remembers God, and does not forget Him (thank you Alexander Solzhenitsyn).
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart,
for God has already approved what you do.
Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the grave), to which you are going.Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, and 9:7-9, NIV
I guess at the end of it all — to me at least — the grand idea in this book is in the grind of life, search for contentment, and practice being content with the blessings God has given you; while also being mindful of his power and place therein.
The path of purpose is to seek God’s purposes; to seek His meanings, and to give something back to others. Be grateful, humble, and wholly kind. You have been given the soil of time freely by God, and by being mindful and goodhearted towards Him and others — your toils can actually be meaningful. If you only get that from reading this book or post… it is worth writing to me.
Good words stay fresh in a dusty bible. Good words can clean-out a dusty mind. Check out this book with an open heart, and remember the ancient King of the Grind. =)