Ecclesiastes 2:18-26: Work is Good

Read: Ecclesiastes 2:18-26

The “Preacher” seems to be a grumpy old man as he reflects on all his labors. He is not sure concerning the nature of inheritance in that the one who will inherit his estate will inherit something he did not work for. The Preacher has labored all his life, pouring himself into his work. Yet the one who inherits the will not have to work for it. The Preacher sees this as vanity, empty of meaning. Furthermore, the Preacher does not know whether the one who inherits his estate will be a fool or will be a wise person who will inherit his estate. The Preacher will have no control over his estate, but whoever inherits it will. The preacher sees this as vanity, and empty of meaning.

The one good thing that the Preacher does take away from the whole of his work is that it is gift from God to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. He reiterates this same thing later in his discourse (Ecclesiastes 3:13, Ecclesiastes 5:18, Ecclesiastes 8:15, Ecclesiastes 9:7-9). The principal of hard work is reiterated in the Scriptures (Ephesians 4:28, Proverbs 10:4-5, Proverbs 12:11, Proverbs 28:19). Paul claims that it is right of every person to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and even more so for one who makes his job the work of spreading the gospel, although he does not partake in these privileges (1 Corinthians 8:1-15, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10). In all things, it is right for a person to labor for his portion.

Christians should make every effort to work hard in every respect. The Preacher was caught up in in trying to gain wealth for wealth sake, and at the end of his days saw the futility of this. He could not take it with him and someone else would be the beneficiary of his work. The purpose of work is not for purpose of accumulating wealth, rather for the purpose of living out one’s life in a worthy and honorable manner in accordance with God’s principals. Some professions do indeed pay well, and there is nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy or being paid well for ones work. One should enjoy the fruits of his or her labor too, finding a balance between work and the enjoyment of that work. Ultimately, blessings are for the purpose of blessing others so that God will known among the nations (Psalms 67).

Lord, help me to work hard and enjoy the fruits when they come!