Word of the Week: Works

Solomon declared that all of his works brought only vanity and vexation. He drew for us the conclusion that none of our works are meaningful under the sun. Later, He encourages us to enjoy what we do for God approves of those who fear Him and keep His commandments.

But in all this, Solomon wasn’t just talking about occupation.

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” –Ecclesiastes 2:11

In other translations, this verse is rendered without the word “works.” Some simply say “all that my hands had done.” Other translate “All of my activities.”

As Ashlee suggested in her guest post about trusting in a job, “works” can be defined as many things.

The definition of “works” in this context is a long list, including descriptors like:

  • Accomplishments
  • Achievements
  • Business
  • Arts
  • Activities
  • Actions
  • Labors
  • Practices
  • Yields
  • Things

Things is actually on there.

Our “works” are our “things.” They are what we do throughout our days.

Your “thing” of cleaning house?

Your “thing” of making others smile?

Your “thing” of mastering a lesson?

They all count.

Remember the famous, freeing words?

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

The definition of works here is very similar.

None of the things we carry out on earth earn us meaning, worth, or eternal profit under the sun. Can’t earn those. That’s all the free gift of God in Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for that. Because if I’m honest, it gets tiresome trying to build myself up creating some great profit or meaning out of the cleaning, the smiling, and the learning. These all have their role under the sun and they all have a place in my life.

But all the “more” I seek is found in Him. All the gain comes in Christ alone. Fearing Him and enjoying what he provides is enough.

So my works can just be things. They don’t have to be more than that. I don’t have to work on my works being more meaningful. What a relief!

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

Word of the Week: Pleasing

A useful tool for getting ahead, building a great reputation, and driving yourself nuts, pleasing others is a temptation.

Personally, I have been facing this temptation rather obviously. The recent struggle has required me to either strive to please a certain person or act according to what God says is right. I’m reaping some very frustrating consequences due to not pleasing said person.

Yet I’m glad for this, thanking the Lord even in the unpleasant.

Galatians 1:10 challenges you and I:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Broken down…

Step 1: Trying

Trying to please people starts with striving and intending. It begins in our hearts when we shape our thoughts in pursuit of getting the approval or acceptance of others.

Step 2: To Please

Biblos.com defines the action:

pleasing def

Pleasing someone requires action (or inaction) in accordance with that person’s wishes. It is acting as they would like you to. Just as a servant would do.

Step 3: People

The first two steps happen in order; we strive to please. It’s this last bit where we make a clearer choice.

Choosing “people” isn’t the better option. “People” means not God.

Our striving, working, and serving are all to be unto the Lord. That is what is best for us and what brings Him glory.

Just as money and God cannot both be our masters, other people and God cannot both be those we submit to. Other people and God have far too many competing purposes, directions, and methods for us to obey both simultaneously. His way ultimately wins out in the end.

Start on the winning side. Begin with the trying to please God. Sometimes (often!) He asks us to do things that will also please other people. It’s lovely. Just be prepared to make the choice when called upon.

As I can attest far too well at the moment: choosing God over man is always worth it, but man doesn’t tend to react well. Thankful the Lord approves, gives grace, and can even work in those “others” who are displeased with me.

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #SittingAmongFriends, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.