Despite what you hear about our leisure time, the average hours a week on the job has recently gone up in America. Companies are working existing employees more instead of hiring more workers. Others are becoming what we call workaholics and are investing seventy, eighty or more hours a week in work.
But at some point, most people get burnt out. The work loses its joy and we question any real purpose to it. We stay busy—so busy that we cannot seem to find any inner peace. But life itself becomes a bore, a drudge, a grind. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon looked at all the labor he had done and decided it was useless. His threefold conclusion:
- There is no rest in our work. Everything is full of labour yet the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:8). The work just keeps coming but there is no end in view. As in the childrens story, The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. Perhaps this applies to you as well. When is the last time you were really able to rest?
- There is no renewal in our labors. There is no new thing under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We are just going in circles and not getting anywhere. And, through it all, we are becoming more and more disgusted with our work in particular and with life in general.
- There is no remembrance of our work. In other words, who cares? We do not remember the things that the earlier generations did. And, the generations to come will not care what we gave our entire life to accomplish. There is no remembrance (Ecclesiastes 1:11).
So, when we get this way, what are we to do about it? Should we react like Solomon a hate life (Ecclesiastes 2:17)? Of course not! God has not saved us to look at life as a dull, boring, intolerable existence. He has a purpose and plan for us. With Him in our hearts, life has true meaning. Here are some practical, scriptural responses to the daily drudge.
Treasure Every Moment
Ephesians 5:16 tells us to be, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” We get used to routines and our habits take control. We stop living and begin to simply exist. Yet, God has created every moment to be lived for His sake and by His strength. We cheat ourselves and God when we allow our minds to be dulled to a semi-comatose existence. Accept each moment as a gift from God to be lived as would be most pleasing to Him.
Number Your Days
God uses the day as the main unit of time in service. He does not tell us to number our minutes or our years. The psalmist said, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). If we will concentrate on giving our days to God, we will be blessed.
Anything shorter and we will lose our focus (try focusing on something moment by moment). Anything longer and we give up because of failure. New Year’s resolutions fail because the first day we mess up the entire year is ruined. But days are God’s way. Each one ends with darkness and begins with a new dawn. Have you messed up today? Well…do the best you can to salvage it. Then, start all over again in the morning.
Do It With Your Might
When life becomes a bore, we start operating on minimum effort. Have you ever walked into a store or a fast-food place and seen everyone operating on reserve battery. I am convinced that the body can shut down about 80% of its load without actually going to sleep or fainting.
Perhaps you do better than the McDonald’s team, but the drudge factor takes the bounce out of anyone. If life becomes a grind and work becomes a burden, then you will face it with less energy and drive. You will slow down. But this is not God’s will. We are to put all our effort into our endeavors. Ecclesiastes 9:10 states,
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
This life is short. Whatever you do, put everything you have into it. Pretty soon your focus will come back and the joys of honest labor will return.
Do It As To the Lord
It is not enough that you do your best—although that is important. You must also do it as if the Lord Himself were your Boss. After all, He is, isn’t He? Colossians 3:23-24 states:
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
This passage is speaking to a servant (i.e., a slave) concerning his relationship with his master. Now, if a slave needs to do his work as unto the Lord, how should we serve our earthly masters when we serve them voluntarily? Keep the Lord in sight in all that you do. If you cannot do it for His glory, then do not do it (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Enjoy Every Blessing
James 1:17 states:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
God gives good things every day. Yet, we often ignore them and dwell on the bad things around us. God expects a man to “enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Slow down and enjoy all the good that God has given you. Look around you. What blessings can you see or think about right now? Be thankful for what God has given you and enjoy the blessings He gives.
Look Outside Yourself
You will be depressed if you look only on your own problems. We shut ourselves up in our own private asylum and soak in our own misery. One solution to this state is to do something for someone else. We are to look “on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4) and “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Each person is to “please his neighbour for his good to edification” (Romans 15:2).
Yet, when we are feeling sorry for ourselves, this is the last thing we want to do. So, then, force yourself to do something for another person in need. Find a way to help others. You will get your thoughts off self and will leave no room for self-pity.
Rejoice in the Lord
Philippians 4:4 commands us, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” God tells us that “the joy of the Lord” is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Perhaps you say that nothing good has happened to you today. That’s fine. You can still rejoice in the Lord. You can glory in His goodness. That’s what we were made to do anyway. We are created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). You will never be more fulfilled than when you are bringing pleasure to the Lord. So, go ahead…rejoice in Him!
From what we have discussed, let me give you some final suggestions. Try these when you find yourself sinking into a dull pattern or when you find yourself depressed with life.
- Be conscious that every moment is a gift from God.
- Begin each day by giving it to the Lord.
- Do each task with gusto.
- Do all things as if done directly for the Lord.
- Take a blessing break at different times during the day and count several of them.
- Be a blessing to someone else.
- Glory in your God.
Remember, if you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you do not have to live “under the circumstances.” After all, your God is the Lord of the circumstances.