Ecclesiastes 2:26 Finding Happiness

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26

Searching for happiness in life is a common challenge that many people strive for. It is common for people to think that if they just have the right job, or get married, or have children, or get a certain degree, or have a certain level of paycheck, or live in a certain area, and the list goes on forever, that they will be happy.

What usually happens is that they do get what they want. They are happy for a short time and then they get discouraged again. They were satisfied and happy for a while, but then the problems started to occur and they are no longer happy. Other times, the person wants more. Finding happiness, in the way the world does, is like trying a new drug. It makes a person happy for a time, but then he needs more or a stronger one, never fully satisfied.

Solomon says that a person who is not serving God is just working hard to gain things, just to have it handed over to someone else. Working very hard just to hand everything over to someone else is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. One can never catch the wind, no matter how hard he tries.

The way to find happiness is found in pleasing God. The only way you can please God is to follow and please His Son Jesus. In order to please Jesus, you must do what He has asked you to do.

Pleasing Jesus means that you have taken up the task He has started, to reach and save the world. You cannot save the world, but you can bring those in the world to the One who can save them.

Life is not about you. It is about others and God. It is about the kingdom of Jesus. Are you building that kingdom?

Or are you building a kingdom for yourself?

If it is for yourself, it will be handed over to others and you will not find any happiness in this life.

Serve God today.

I pray today that God will show you what He wants you to do today; that you will know how to please God with your life; that you will know the happiness God can give you; and that you will work to build God’s kingdom in this world.

Proverbs 18:9 Not Working The Best Work

One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. Proverbs 18:9

Working hard takes hard work and dedication, two characteristics that many people lack in. Although most people are dedicated to showing up for their job, most do not always give 100% of their efforts at the job.

Everyone knows of someone who slacks on the job. That job could be a paying job in the workforce or a volunteer job somewhere else. It is the person who stops and talks all the time, or has to use the restroom every few minutes. It is the person who does the job very slowly on purpose. It is the person who does not follow all the directions in getting the job done. There are many ways that a person can slack on the job.

Solomon likens this person to one who destroys. Some may ask how is that destroying anything, they are not physically hurting anyone or anything.

When a person does not give his all in work, he is destroying in several ways at a minimum. That person is destroying the integrity of the business–not giving the best service. Destroying the moral at work, because others see the slacking and join in it or they begin complaining. The personal integrity is destroyed by not doing what he says he is doing. It teaches those under a person to also cut corners and slack off on work.

Every job at you have and do you are to do it as unto the Lord with all of your heart. God did not do any slacking when He created you or this world. Jesus did not slack at all when He went through the process to provide salvation for your soul.

God is in the process of building a kingdom that will last forever. You have been asked to be a part of that building process. No matter what you do, you are in that process.

There will be days when you will be tempted to slack off and cut corners in your work. You will see others slacking off. Do not follow them. Follow the example of Jesus and keep working faithfully. God is looking for faithful servants who will do the work required.

Are you building?

Or are you slacking off and destroying?

I pray today that you will know the work God has for you to do; that you will work as unto God; that you will work with the integrity of God; and that God will give you strength to do the work needed to be done.

Time To Graduate

May and June are the months that bring about a lot of graduation ceremonies. Living in a larger college based city, I know of many graduation ceremonies happening. Although I know of many different ceremonies happening, most I do not get invited to go to. Over this last Friday and Saturday, two days only, I had been to three different high school graduation ceremonies. Over the last two weeks, I have been to multiple graduation parties, for students graduating eighth grade middle school, all the way through a doctor’s degree in college.

This is a busy season of honoring those who have endured a lot of hardship, long hours of study, and passing many tests in order to earn a degree or passing on to a higher level of schooling.

In each of these ceremonies, I had heard various speakers talking to the students about moving on in life. Gratefully, most of the ceremonies were Christian based groups and focused on God at the center of the student’s life. Several were not and did not bring up God in the picture at all.

With graduation, there is usually a feeling of some fear. Fear of what is next. Fear of how to move on with life. Many questions are being asked, and many not being answered.

If the student is in high school, some of the questions might be:

  • Do I go to college or not?
  • If I go to college, which one?
  • Which degree do I pursue?
  • How do I pay for college?
  • If I don’t go to college, what job should I get?
  • What career path should I pursue?

If the student is graduating college, some of the questions might be:

  • Do I continue on for a higher degree?
  • Where can I get a job?
  • How do I finish paying my loans?
  • Where do I move to now?

The one thing that is common for all graduates is that they are moving on in life. There is a change in life. Things are going to be different.

Some people do not really want to graduate. They are afraid of what lies ahead. I have seen some people be “professional” students. They attend college for eight years and never get a degree. They are constantly changing their majors, afraid of what is next, never really going anywhere.

Others do graduate, but do not move on. As they went through their schooling, it was just going through the motions. They never really learned anything. Some even cheated their way through the system. Rather than learning and growing, they stayed the same and fell behind. Many do not even graduate and drop out.

Although most people do finish out their high school degree and do move on, there are many that do not graduate in their walk with God. They hit a certain level and then stop.

The writer of Hebrews states: In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Hebrews 5:12

It is easy to just go to church and hear a sermon each week. There is no commitment or dedication involved. There is no work being done. Yes, a person may believe in Jesus and is saved, but there is no growth.

As a believer, you must grow and graduate on to bigger and better things. When you go through a situation in life with God, you must learn.

God may have you going through a tough situation. There may be some fear of uncertainty, since it is something new to you. You are to learn how God works and is in control in this life.

As God comes through for you in a situation, remember what He has done and will continue to do in your life. In your walk with Jesus, allow yourself to graduate on to the greater things God has for you.

Be willing to be used by God in new ways. As you step out in faith, graduating, it may be a little scary. It is usually stepping into an unknown territory in your life.

However, God is with you.

Remember:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

It is time to graduate in your walk with God.

What does God want you to start doing today?

How can you grow in the Lord Jesus today?

How can you be more like Jesus today?

Labor Day

Labor Day is a day that the United States has set aside to honor those who work. It was made a national holiday in 1894 and has been celebrated ever since.

Nearly all government jobs, schools, banks, and many other businesses allow their workers a day off on Labor Day to honor their hard work. The thought is that without most people working hard all year long, the economy would not be successful and things would not progress forward.

Without the farmer working his land, there would be no food available. Without the construction worker building, there would be no new buildings. Without the assembly line worker, there would be very few to no products. Without the seamstress, there would be no clothing. Without the teacher, there would be no learning. And the list goes on.

Work is often seen as a necessary evil to many people. They get up each day dreading having to go to work the next day. People go to work, watching the clock all day for the moment they can clock out and go home. The go to work each day seeking to clock out for their weekend off. Or waiting until they can take their next vacation.

In the beginning of time, God was working at building this world. When He made Adam, He told Adam to work the ground and tend to the garden. Right from the beginning of time, man was made to work.

Although God did rest on the seventh day, He continues to work until this day. There is work to still be done. He still maintains this world and meets the needs of every person on this earth.

Jesus had said that there are few workers to go out into this world and bring in the needed harvest (Luke 10:2). This work is the evangelization of this world. It is bringing the good news to the world that God loves the people and wants to save everyone. There is a work still to be done in this world.

There are people in this world that cannot get a job to earn the needed money for food, clothing or housing. They would love to have a job. If you have a job, count it a blessing and a privilege.

No matter what your job is, your ultimate job is the one for God, to be His witness in this world. This can be done first by being a good hard worker for your boss. You must do the work required with the best of your abilities. You then must be willing to talk to others about Jesus.

If you are a parent, you must demonstrate being a good worker in this world, both for your earthly boss, and for God. Whatever you do, you are to do it as though you were doing it for God (Colossians 3:23). Your children are watching and learning from you. They see how you work and they hear how you feel about having to work.

Are you grumbling and complaining about having to go to work? Then your children will grumble and complain more about having to do chores or work.

Do you refuse to work and just play games or watch football all the time? Then your children will do the same, thinking it is acceptable.

Set the example for your children, so that they will grow up being a great worker for God. They can work for God, whether in a non-church related job, or in the church. But they will only do that if they have been shown how to do that.

Solomon said that if you just sit back and relax poverty will come on you very quickly (Proverbs 24:33). Find your rest on your Sabbath day. Find your rest in God.

How do you view work?

Do you see it as privilege to be working for God?

Or do you see it as a necessary evil?

Hebrews 6:10 Not Forgotten

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

Everywhere a person looks there are things that have occurred that are not seen. Look at a business that looks very clean. Usually the cleaning occurs at night, afterhours. The work being done shows greatly, but the one who did it is not seen. If the work was not done, everyone would very quickly notice.

This same type of work occurs in the church. There are things done behind the scenes. The book work for the records, the cleaning, the sermon preparation, the building maintenance, the worship practice, and many other things. Many of the people who do these things are unseen by the general church. Very few people will give thanks to them for their work.

Along with this, outside the church, there are believers who are doing little things for God all the time. The helping mow an elderly person’s yard, providing a meal for a family in need, paying someone’s bills, giving an encouraging word to someone, praying with someone, and many other things.

All of these things are often done in ways that seem unseen and ungrateful. Yet, God sees all of these things. He is also keeping a list of everything thing that is being done.

You may be one of these people doing something that does not seem to be accounted for. You may feel like no one is grateful for all the hard work you are doing behind the scenes. Yet, God sees all your work. He will not forget what you have done for Him.

There will come a day when God will reward you openly for all that you have done in secret. Do not become discouraged and give up. Keep working for the Lord, even when it seems like it is unseen.

God has promised great rewards for those who are doing His work. Those rewards may come in this life, or in life eternal, but they will come. Trust God and rely on Him to give you the strength to keep working for Him.

I pray today that God will strengthen you as you do His work; that God will reveal some of the rewards He has for you; that God will reveal to you ways to love and help others around you; and that God will provide abundantly for all of your needs as you pour into others.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 What Motivates You?

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

People do different things for many different reasons. Some will go to the gym to exercise on a regular basis because they want to look great, while others are trying to be in good shape so that they may stay healthy. Graduates of high school often push through the challenges of college to earn a degree so that they may get a better paying job. There are many other things that people do because of some type of motivation to get them done.

Motivation to do something can come in satisfaction, contentment, power, prestige, honor, or other ways. Depending on the person, what works as a motivation for one person, will not be enough for another.

Paul was looking at the Thessalonians and saw what they were doing. All of their actions were motivated by something else. Their work was motivated by faith. They knew that they were saved by faith, not by their works, so they wanted to do good works for God.

They worked hard because of love. This love was the love God had for them and it was the love they had for God and others.

They endured the hardships of the work and labor because of the hope that they had in Jesus Christ. They knew that in the end they would inherit eternal life with God in heaven. They knew that God would work in and through them to do great things.

Doing difficult things can be very difficult and hard at times. To keep doing them is even harder yet.

Look to what Jesus had gone through to bring you the salvation you are able to enjoy. He endured leaving heaven, dying on the cross, and being rejected by God for a time. This was all done through faith in His Father, the love to and of His Father, and the hope of His Father.

What motivates you today? What are you being motivated to do today?

Are you living your life for Jesus and for others? Or are you living it for yourself?

I pray today that you will know the love of Jesus; that you will be filled with faith in Jesus; that you will have the hope Jesus gives; that you will work to do the work of God; and that God will use you to draw many to Jesus.

Colossians 3:23-24 Do Everything For God

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

In these verses Paul is speaking directly and specifically to slaves. Although today most people are not slaves in the same sense of physical purchase and ownership, most everyone is a slave to someone. There is someone that they have to answer to and obey, whether it is a parent, boss, or some other authority, there is usually someone who is in control.

Paul is telling the people to work with all their heart. This is working with the best of your ability, not cutting corners, and not complaining.

Many people in the workplace like to cut corners on getting things done. They like to show up five minutes late or leave five minutes early because they know that the time clock works in fifteen minute increments. Others will stop working and talk for twenty minutes on a fifteen minute break. Some will work slower than they are actually able to work. All of these and many other ways are cheating the boss.

God wants you to work for that boss or obey that authority as though it was Jesus standing there telling you what to do. Every good thing that you do will be rewarded by God someday. The struggles and hardships that you endure working on this earth will get you an inheritance in heaven some day.

This work is not to gain you salvation or favor with God. It is showing your love for God and for others. It is doing the right thing. Do it whether someone sees you or not, because God is watching you and sees all that you are doing or not doing. Do it out of sincerity of your heart and obedience to God.

How do you obey those over you today? Do you cheat, lie, or cut corners? Or do you do the right thing every time, all the time?

I pray today that God will give you the strength to do the work that needs to be done; that you will do everything you do for Jesus; that you will know that God will reward you some day; and that God will draw many to Jesus through you.