Read Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that life comes in cycles: Sometimes we weep but later laugh, search for lost things but also give up searching, speak our minds but other times keep quiet.

You might expect the writer to say “A time to work, and a time to rest.”  But he doesn’t.  In fact several contrasting activities are both work: A time to tear down, a time to build; a time to scatter stones, a time to gather them; a time to plant, a time to uproot. 

The wisdom of Ecclesiastes comes not in celebrating rest, but in finding meaning in our work: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”  And later: “So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot.”

Finding joy in our work is almost as good as finding rest. For me it means being able to relax without guilt or stress after a hard day on the job. It also means I can leave career behind when I holiday with the family. Do you find satisfaction in your work? Can you find genuine rest when you're away from the daily grind?

God, help me to find your purpose in my career, and help me truly find rest away from it too. May my seasons of effort and leisure reflect your goodness to me in my life. Amen.

Take Action

List three things that give your work purpose. Ask yourself if they are sufficient to generate satisfaction and rest.

Tags: sabbath Ecclesiastes rest in God