Are You Making A Living, Or Making A Life?

September 6, 1999
by Chad Janey

Ecclesiastes 2:17,24-25 – So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment? (NIV)

How many of us have not been exactly where the author of Ecclesiastes found himself in verse 17? He was hating life. Why? Because he hated his job, the work that was done under the sun. He felt that his job and his toiling was completely meaningless.

I know there have been many times in my life that I have been utterly depressed and even disgusted with life just because my job was not going well. Maybe I was working more hours than I would like, or maybe I was dealing with a client that was overbearing, or maybe I was just "tired" of working. It is so natural for us to let our jobs control the rest of our lives. After all we spend 12-20 years in school preparing us for the working world. We invest thousands of dollars to get us ready for our careers. Then we discover that the thing we spent so much time and money to get is the thing we would most like to get rid of.

Why is it that work can bring so much grief into our lives? Well, I got the answer to that question last Sunday morning. Our pastor made a comment while telling a story that really stuck out to me. He was trying to illustrate the fact that we often have our focus in the wrong place. What he said was something like this: "We put all of our efforts into our jobs, trying to make a living. Making a living is important to us, but making a life is not!" That statement just hit me like a brick. We concern ourselves more with bringing home a big pay cheque, making a name for ourselves, or getting that big promotion, and we seem to forget that none of those things can bring us true happiness.

My father recently has gone through some major changes in his career path, most of them beyond his control. The end result landed him working for a new company. While the quantity on his pay cheque may not have increased, it is obvious to me that the quality of his life has increased. He went from a job that he dreaded going to every day, and one that brought tremendous stress to his life, to a job that he can truly leave at the door when he goes home each day. He now has a job that "is from the hand of God."

As today's scripture says, we can do nothing better in our lives than to eat and drink (provide for our needs) and find satisfaction in our work. We need to take our focus away from our jobs, and focus more on our lives at home, church, and in the community. We need to make a life, not a living. If we keep our focus on God, we will surely find enjoyment.

Prayer: O God, help us to keep our focus on You. May we be be able to make a life for ourselves, and may we allow You to concern Yourself with providing the living. We thank You that You have promised to provide all that we need! In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Chad Janey
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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