“Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecc. 9:10) 

No matter what your job or pursuit is, often there is this temptation to wait for things to perfectly align before jumping in. We want to know for certain we are “called” to something, or that we are pursuing the right thing. Sometimes that great desire actually keeps us stagnant. 

We all know the popular verse:  “Cease striving and know that I am God.”  There is a big difference between working hard and striving, and it all has to do with the heart. 

1). Working is putting physical and mental effort into a cause that aligns with God’s glory being manifested in your life. It’s about co-laboring with the Holy Spirit for His goals, His vision and glory. 

2). Striving is working in your own power, for your own gain, and your own goals. 

If you’re striving, sweating and struggling to make things happen for yourself, the burn out is going to be rough. Striving is self-powered and self-focused. Working is God-glorifying and exhilarating, when you rely on Him.

So how do you know if you are “striving” or “working” for the right thing? 

If you love something, pray for guidance and wisdom- then throw your weight behind it! Whether that is creating clay pots, or studying architecture, or helping get food to the hungry. If your work doesn’t become your IDENTITY and it doesn’t become an IDOL, it’s probably safe to assume God is going to get glory from what you do. Period. So as long as you are working for God’s glory and not your own… whatever field you’ve chosen is probably just phenomenal. 

But something else in Ecclesiastes shook up me up this week, and I think it’s important to bear in mind as we consider our work.

We don’t always get what we’ve earned.

“The race is not to the swift

    or the battle to the strong,

nor does food come to the wise

    or wealth to the brilliant

    or favor to the learned;

but time and chance happen to them all.” (Except. 9:11)

Woah! That’s a little disheartening at first blush. You mean life isn’t FAIR? Of course not. 

We are only humans, and we can give all the hours of the day to something… and yet it may evade us. That’s why you see some actors who make it, some who don’t. Some people whose apps get purchased, others whose didn’t.  

Humility is remembering that even though we may bring skills to the table, success is ONLY in the hands of God who runs time, chance, and everything the universe. Like it or not, those variables are not up to us or the work we do for something.

Dear hard workers, 

When bad things happen to you, don’t take it personally. 

When good things happen, don’t take the credit. 

Esther Followwill-Johnson

Author Esther Followwill-Johnson

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