Musings • Blog

Work Is Meaningless

Two Cents
May 17, 2019

I've never wanted a big house, a fancy car or whatever. I've always hated the "American Dream", but I couldn't quite put it into words until I heard this.

Let's talk about work. It's so meaningless.

Don't we all have those days/weeks/jobs where work seems so dreadful and meaningless? Yeah, you do. It doesn't mean we don't love our jobs. Different things can suck all the fun out of it. I truly believe I have two of the best jobs possible. I primarily work at Downtown Bentonville Inc. and have been able to grow as a designer which lead to Chad and I starting Minim. Minim is great because we have even more freedom to make better decisions and do things how we want. Even still there are days when it feels like a burden. I was really feeling that way one day and I realized it wasn't the job and it wasn't a person or place I was frustrated with.

It was all about how I idealized work, not my task, but all work.

Ecclesiastes is one of the best books I've ever read and to sum it up - "Everything is meaningless." - Solomon

When we get out of our routine ways of thinking we all understand somewhere inside that this is totally true. That's why everyone asks the question "What's the meaning of life?" It's because it seems meaningless. Doing the same things every day takes a natural toll on us. No one would disagree with Solomon on that. Remember he had all the wisdom in the world and therefore all the experiences in the world. This is a guy who asked for wisdom and God gave it to him. That doesn't mean he did it all right. He was no different then us except he had it all...and still it was all meaningless.

When he uses the word meaningless he uses it like the word "fleeting." Think of smoke from a match that just disappears. Tell me that's not our everyday routine at some point or another!

Now it gets good!

Solomon talks about work in Chapters 3-5 and he calls it "toilsome toil" while also being "God's assignment and reward." How is it both? Simple - imagine a pair of glasses with one lens being meaningless toil and the other being that feeling of a job well done. You put the spectacles on and they almost provide a balance. One isn't more clear than the other. It's mixed. We all feel both. In Genesis God made people to work. Why? Because it gives us accomplishment and we all know we need that feeling to keep going. That's natural. That's part of the plan, but we go wrong when we think it's all about finishing work so we can rest. God rested on the 7th day of creating everything as an example for us, but what did He say. "He saw that it was good." Was God tired? Impossible. Did he think it may not turn out well. He knew it would.

He was setting the example for us. To look back on our work and enjoy what we've done, while knowing full well it's never finished.

We're not created to work until we can't anymore and then just retire and do nothing. No one ever ends up getting to that point. That would be awful. Why stop doing something you love? Especially when you were created to do it. I say good luck with that. This goes against culture completely and quite frankly that's how you know it's true. Culture is always wrong, but we don't always recognize it.

Sure work is meaningless, but God also says to pray like this " Give us this day our daily bread." In case that sounds too Bibley for you He says "Ya gonna need food son and I'll give it to ya cause I care." So take bread for example. (Simple) A farmer works his butt off to grow the grain and someone else, makes it into bread and some lady has to get it to a store where another person has to market this bread and in the end it's all just so you can have it. Bread. That's what it looks like for God to give you your daily bread. Is all that work fleeting or meaningless? Not at all! You need that junk and God just provided for ya, so God took what to us feels pointless and just fed hundreds of thousands of people with it. That's just bread! Basic ol' bread. I dare say He really does have the whole world in his hands.

We have to remember that God gives the meaning to our work. He constantly is doing something much bigger than us with all our little work and when we do it for Him it has nothing to do with us. It's about trusting that His infinitely bigger brain has a plan with a trillion different possible outcomes based on every little decision we make. (Thus how God gives us free will and directs our lives too.)

All this is for the benefit of taking care of these ridiculous little people He creates and admires above anything else.

Unreal. (and yet it is.)

My Jobs. Your Jobs. What's the Point?

This radically changed my heart towards a specific task that's been pissing me off for a good solid month and I swear now I can choose to be free of that bitterness and malice every time I remember that work doesn't end and it should be enjoyed and reflected on, because God can use it for something infinitely larger than myself.

What's the point of creating events on the Square at Downtown Bentonville? (It's not like we're saving abused children or something.) It could be that we're giving people who do, a place to rest and reflect on their work. What's the point of making a small business an affordable website at Minim? Maybe now they can fill their time with rest? Maybe that's the point of all work? To give rest to someone else by taking the load and in the end we all still miss it and forget to just rest. It's like we're all one giant family (humans) working together. (Now I got my brain juices rollin.')

Most of these thoughts came from two swell fellas named Mark Schatzman and Matt Noetzel. You can find them at Fellowship Bible Church in Lowell and they blow my mind like this on a regular basis, so if you enjoyed this, hit up Mosaic on Saturday nights. They totally don't want the credit and neither do I. We just want you to wrap your head around ONE of the infinite ways God cares about the smallest things.

Don't work yourself to death.

Let's end with how Mark summed his talk up.

One thing Ecclesiastes promises us is that our work week will be "toilsome toil" and "God's Assignment." Knowing that work is "toil" keeps us from idealizing our job. Knowing that it is "God's assignment and reward" keeps us from demonizing work. These twin truths bring hopeful realism to the work week. - Mark Schatzman

{Thank you so much.}

The Good Lord is good. What an understatement.

- Brad


He does a great job of going through the text in Eccesiates and making sense of it.

If you wanna.