(Ecclesiastes KJV) And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
At what point does enjoying the good of one’s labor turn into self-centeredness? It would seem that this is only possible when God is no longer the center of one’s life. Spending all your time and money on making yourself happy is not what this scripture is talking about. That would be self-centeredness.
On the other hand I have actually known folks who have chosen not to enjoy any of the good of their labor because they thought it was a sign of worldliness. Their intentions may have been right, but their interpretation of God’s plan for their happiness was wrong.
Both of those are extreme examples and neither is what the Lord intended in our text. God does not desire for His children to live a dull cheerless life. Neither does He intend for them to only think of themselves and what brings joy to them. The fact is, God wants His children to enjoy life even in the simplest of things.
I think one of the first lessons we should learn is to enjoy the simple things of life, which then helps lay the right foundation for appreciating all things in life. That simple principle has worked for me.
While growing up on a farm in
East Texas one of my
simple pleasures in life was to go coon hunting. I had an old “blue-tick” coon dog
I called Blue. Blue was a beautiful dog (if you can call a hound beautiful),
with long ears and drooping, slobbering jowls. Blue was the epitome of laziness
and spent most of his time lying on the front porch asleep. The only thing that
Blue liked as much as sleeping was going coon hunting.
After a hard day of work on the farm I would come in and eat my supper and eventually go to bed. Many times I would lay there in bed and look out my open bedroom window (this was before air conditioning), and enjoy the bright moonlit night while listening to the lowing of the cows and the typical sounds of night in the country. After spending time thinking about enjoying the “good of my labor” I would get out of bed, grab the shotgun and spotlight and walk out the back door hollering, “Come on Blue.” Blue and I would head for the woods expecting to find a coon. By the time I got through the barbed wire fence, Blue had usually treed a coon. I would always come running and say, “Good boy Blue.”
Blue was quite a dog…his bark was long and slow as if he was from the
Deep South. As a matter of fact his bark sounded kinda lonesome.
It sounded more like the sounds of a far off freight train blowing its whistle
than it did a dog barking at a coon.
Even though those were simple days I learned the principle of enjoying the labor of my work as the Lord intended in our text. The fact is God wants all of His children to enjoy life as much as I did while hunting coons with old Blue.
For one to engage in either of the two extremes that I pointed out would be a form of idolatry. To spend all of one’s time seeking pleasure or rejecting pleasure would result in the same thing. The first would be that of personal worship and the second would be that of a sacrificed joy that is not required by the Lord.
Help each of us to be ministers of encouragement. There is so much sadness and need in the world today Lord that we really want to be Your hands extended. We understand that there is nothing that brings more joy to a natural parent’s heart than seeing their children happy. We also know that there is nothing that brings pleasure to You like seeing Your children happy as well. We want to help.