The Anchor of Hope: July 15, 2014

The Anchor of Hope

An e-publication of Living Hope Presbyterian Church

July 15, 2014

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.  (12)  I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;  (13)  moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor–it is the gift of God.

The plant where I work will be closing in two to three months, so it appears that I will be job hunting very soon.  My wife, Jenny, asked what type of work would I be looking for. I told her I didn’t know. I realized in that moment that I do not have a career/vocation. I merely have a job.  Something to pay the bills. That thought took me aback. She tried to reassure me that my vocation was to study and write — I just don’t get paid for doing that. And she is right to a certain extent. But it is still disconcerting, especially since my vocation is not my job, as I can only practice my vocation as I have spare time. In other words, it doesn’t receive the attention I need to give it in order to be fulfilled.

I remember Eric Liddell’s words in the movie “Chariots of Fire.”  His sister questioned why he insisted on running, since he had to put off becoming missionary to do so. He responded, “God made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”  Doing what God gifted you to do will cause you to sense His pleasure. And that is fulfillment.

In the verses above, there is another aspect of labor that is a gift.  A man’s life being sustained by the fruit of his labor is a good within itself – a blessing from God (v13).  Thus, you may sense a lack of fulfillment in your job.  It may be a drudgery to have to go to work each day.  You may be legitimately frustrated by your boss and fellow co-workers, and realize that some of your gifts lay unused at the office.  Finding a new job is legitimate.  But being thankful for God’s provision to sustain yourself and your family should not be despised or taken for granted even in such a situation.  God’s provision is a gift.

Of course, it is preferable to combine God’s provision with the abilities He has gifted you, but in His providence that cannot always be achieved.  In such a case, He still expects you to use your abilities within the opportunities He grants to you.  You may just have to be more creative to do so – being faithful in the little things (Mt 25.21).

Time is, humanly speaking, both a friend and an enemy.  We have been given a set amount of it by God, but time seems to move by so quickly.  The tyranny of things urgent seem to push from our schedule the things that are ultimately important.  But we have no time to paralyze ourselves with regret over time passed.  Instead, with thanksgiving for His many gifts, we must run the race (Heb 12.1).  And in so doing, we will feel His pleasure by fulfilling His will.