Friday, August 21, 2015

Measuring hard work

"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." (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

In reflecting on these verses, there were four things that stood out to me.
  1. Be joyful
  2. Do good
  3. Eat and drink
  4. And take pleasure in your toil
Lately I’ve struggled with working to pursue money and comfort versus working hard to pursue joy. Sometimes they don’t both come at the same time. I know I am to toil and work hard. I know God calls me to that. But does he call me to toil in pursuit of riches or to toil in a way that brings joy and satisfaction? And is money a true measure for how hard someone is working? 

I think society has placed the expectation that wealth should be pursued. Wealth has become a measure of knowledge and therefore, a measure of how hard you’ve truly worked. 

I’ve always felt I’ve known the next step in life. High school then college then grad school, and then a full time job. But when I knew I needed to quit my job, it was the first time I didn’t know what to pursue next. On the one hand, I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about, but knew wouldn't bring in money for a while. But on the other hand, I’ve been so conditioned to think that knowledge and wealth equated to a purposeful life, so doing something different felt wrong. 

There also seems to be this other narrative that exists in our culture - the art of taking risks, being innovative, or chasing your dream. Even though society romanticizes these newer concepts with phrases such as, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. or Don’t be afraid to fail.”, the reality is that our mind thinks we shouldn’t take risks unless we can guarantee we won’t fail. 

I’ve been struggling with whether I should seek pleasure in the work I find enjoyment in or work for money. I’m not in a place where my husband and I need a second income, so should I take the unique opportunity and pursue toil in the things I enjoy or should I allow societal and cultural norms dictate what I should do?

After much thinking and prayer, I am realizing that this next journey in life is a gift from God and that I'm called to work hard and to take pleasure in that. Money shouldn't be the measurement I use to determine how hard I've worked. 


  1. I agree money is not the key to happiness. Two years ago, I began to live a minimalist lifestyle. This lifestyle brings me true happiness. I changed my diet to eat more whole foods. I am thankful because I give, share, and love more than I ever did in my life. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for sharing Tierra. I love how it has given you happiness and has caused you to treasure the moments and experiences you have with others. I think simplifying and having a more minimalist lifestyle can help to minimize distractions and allows us to focus on the things that matter more. I am still learning to simplify and have a more minimalist lifestyle. :)