Today, on facebook, Janna Womack posted this graphic about work. I like it because behind it is the idea that work is good for you!!! I can only tell you that the best lesson I learned from childhood was the value of work. I learned very early in life that if I wanted something I had better find a way to work for it because it was not going to be given to me. In my case it was often something many people take for granted; like a fast- food hamburger or a dessert or a nice pair of shoes. But there are many people out there who think that things should just be handed to them and frankly that is very bad for society. But, the topic of work is worthy of reflection- and who better to consult than Solomon, that great philosopher king of Israel...
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind. 15 That which is crooked can’t be made straight; and that which is lacking can’t be counted. 16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have obtained for myself great wisdom above all who were before me in Jerusalem. Yes, my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also was a chasing after wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 2
4 I made myself great works. I built myself houses. I planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit. 6 I made myself pools of water, to water from it the forest where trees were reared. 7 I bought male servants and female servants, and had servants born in my house. I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all who were before me in Jerusalem; 8 I also gathered silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got myself male and female singers, and the delights of the sons of men—musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 9 So I was great, and increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired, I didn’t keep from them. I didn’t withhold my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor, and this was my portion from all my labor. 11 Then I looked at all the works that my hands had worked, and at the labor that I had labored to do; and behold, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.....
17 So I hated life, because the work that is worked under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind. 18 I hated all my labor in which I labored under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. 19 Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have rule over all of my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3
16 Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. 17 I said in my heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” 18 I said in my heart, “As for the sons of men, God tests them, so that they may see that they themselves are like animals. 19 For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals. Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, whether it goes downward to the earth?” 22 Therefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who can bring him to see what will be after him?
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 8
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on the earth (for also there is that neither day nor night sees sleep with his eyes), 17 then I saw all the work of God, that man can’t find out the work that is done under the sun, because however much a man labors to seek it out, yet he won’t find it. Yes even though a wise man thinks he can comprehend it, he won’t be able to find it.
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 9
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, where you are going.
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11
5 As you don’t know what is the way of the wind,
nor how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child;even so you don’t know the work of God who does all.
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12
13 This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.
Habits formed in childhood tend to be ones that are retained throughout life and so the value of work IS IMPORTANT!!! Solomon accomplished much and reflected on the value of the work he had done. This reflection led to him to consider how God will judge what he had done in this life, whether good or bad. OK, I know that these passages do not command parents to force their children to work, but the object here was to consider the IDEA of work. If it a good thing- then its probably a good thing for your children to do!!! Just think about it, that is all I ask...