From Today’s Episode:
Welcome! We’re in our For the Fun of It Series and today’s topic is A More Enjoyable Work Experience.
Ecclesiastes 8:15;3:12,13, 22
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God, what's an aspect of my work that you created me to enjoy? God, how can I enjoy that with you this week?
Here’s the episode transcript
Hey friends. I'm Jen, and as a Bible teacher, I love to help people talk with God. And that's one of the reasons that I started this podcast because we get to engage in uncommon conversations with God in any moment of our day. And today we are talking about how easy it is to see a huge part of our daily life as separate from what is fun. We're talking with God about things for the fun of it. For the fun of engaging in these types of conversations with him. And having fun is not something that most of us connect to work.
Now, if you've been around the podcast for a little bit, you know that I enjoy working and we'll talk about that later. But for the most part, even as I enjoy working, I can tend to think about my day in separate time blocks. I work really hard in this section of time so that I can do something fun, or I can have a break in this other section of time. We spend huge amounts of our waking hours in our jobs so that hopefully we will have funds and time and energy to do things that we enjoy later. But God invites us to a better way. So, let's talk about it.
I feel like I'm doing a lot of headlining in this series, because it's easy for us to be drawn to areas of entertainment or enjoyment. And the purpose of life is not just enjoyment. But at the same time, it doesn't require that, to be a mature Christian, we have to refuse all of the enjoyment that God offers us.
In 1 Kings 4, it says that King Solomon is the wisest man who was on earth at his time, wisest in the whole earth. And he's credited for writing the book of Ecclesiastes. And I'm going to read a few passages from Ecclesiastes that speak to this topic. We have Ecclesiastes 8:15, and Solomon says,
“And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go well with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given to him under the sun.”
So, he's commending joy. In the eating and the drinking and the working. Let's read another one, Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, and then skipping down to verse 22.
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil- this is God's gift to man. So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?”
Solomon recommends enjoying life and letting this joy accompany our work. In Ecclesiastes 5:19, in The Message version, just to change it up, it says,
“That's the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what's given and delighting in the work. It's God's gift!”
So, where we might think that we work so that we can enjoy later, scripture actually says, ‘Hey, it's wisdom to find enjoyment also in your work. To enjoy life as a whole, and to let that joy enter into how you work, enter into your times of work.’
I know it might be easier to hear that type of instruction than to actually know how to apply it. And if you're in a rough season at work, you're probably thinking, well, that would be nice to enjoy my work. Or maybe even, unfortunately, I used to enjoy my work, but I definitely don't right now. So, if your season of work feels like that, I encourage you to talk with God about that and what he's inviting you to do in the midst of the difficulty. But our focus today in these last few minutes together is on the wisdom of this exhortation to enjoy our work.
Because the Bible is exhorting us to do this, that tells me a few things. One of the things it tells me is that it's possible. We wouldn't be instructed to do something as wisdom in scripture, but it's not actually something that we could apply to our daily lives. And then two, it tells me that there may be areas of toil, there may be areas of work or labor, that we are uniquely equipped to enjoy.
Now, I reference quite often in the podcast that I love work and there are aspects of work that I enjoy much more than others. There are for sure things that come about in my day-to-day toil that are taxing and draining and not my favorite things to do and pull energy from me, not actually replenish me. But as I've been talking with God about this recently and reflecting on the things that I do enjoy about my work, I'm learning how much I enjoy the learning and discovery process- the discovery of what I'm learning and exploring a new concept and really diving deep to know how I can learn it well and execute with excellence. Those are things that I can enjoy in my work. And so sometimes it's even simply just being mindful of the fact that I want to look out for these things. I want to be alert and aware of the things that are worth rejoicing in, in my work.
My hope and my prayer is as you reflect on your current job, the place that you work, and what you do in your work hours, that you're able to identify things that light you up, that hit sweet spots where your skillset and your passions align, where you can see and celebrate areas of enjoyment that you have in your toil.
And so, our question today comes in two parts as we talk with God about the enjoyment of working.
And so, question one is:
God, what's an aspect of my work that you've created me to enjoy?
And then question two:
God, how can I enjoy that with you this week?
Have a good talk.
And if you’ve been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!
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