Find Joy in the Toil of Life

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20.

“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, ‘For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business.” Ecclesiastes 4:6-8. 

God has called Christians to a quiet life of joy and contentment. God alone gives us the power to enjoy our life and the wealth He allows us to have. Only the life and possessions that God chooses to give to us can make us content and that only through His grace. Further, we are to take time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and not strive endlessly to accumulate wealth to no purpose. A man who follows this simple life of rest in God and faithful toil in the work God puts before him will be contentedly occupied with joy in his heart. He will live in the present rather than in the past and joy will be fundamental to his life.

G. K. Chesterton has said “Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live.”

Christians face many problems in life and sometimes even persecutions. Nevertheless, joy and praise should always predominate our life. Having fallen natures and occasionally facing difficult situations, times of sadness and depression will come but for a Christian these should be merely short interludes as we do not have to stay in them. We are ourselves, as Christians, when joy is fundamental to us and by walking close to God we can live a life where this is our normal state through God’s grace.