Solomon declared that all of his works brought only vanity and vexation. He drew for us the conclusion that none of our works are meaningful under the sun. Later, He encourages us to enjoy what we do for God approves of those who fear Him and keep His commandments.
But in all this, Solomon wasn’t just talking about occupation.
“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” –Ecclesiastes 2:11
In other translations, this verse is rendered without the word “works.” Some simply say “all that my hands had done.” Other translate “All of my activities.”
As Ashlee suggested in her guest post about trusting in a job, “works” can be defined as many things.
The definition of “works” in this context is a long list, including descriptors like:
Things is actually on there.
Our “works” are our “things.” They are what we do throughout our days.
Your “thing” of cleaning house?
Your “thing” of making others smile?
Your “thing” of mastering a lesson?
They all count.
Remember the famous, freeing words?
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9
The definition of works here is very similar.
None of the things we carry out on earth earn us meaning, worth, or eternal profit under the sun. Can’t earn those. That’s all the free gift of God in Jesus Christ.
I’m thankful for that. Because if I’m honest, it gets tiresome trying to build myself up creating some great profit or meaning out of the cleaning, the smiling, and the learning. These all have their role under the sun and they all have a place in my life.
But all the “more” I seek is found in Him. All the gain comes in Christ alone. Fearing Him and enjoying what he provides is enough.
So my works can just be things. They don’t have to be more than that. I don’t have to work on my works being more meaningful. What a relief!
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