Satisfaction in Labor

“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 5:18


I came across this verse this morning, as I was searching for verses on self-discipline and self-control. My first impression was that this verse did not really apply.  What did it have to do with self-discipline?  But, then it occurred to me that Solomon was not instructing us to find jobs that we like so that we will be satisfied.  Rather, he was encouraging people to “find satisfaction” in their work, even if their work requires “toilsome labor under the sun.”  It certainly takes self-discipline to find satisfaction in circumstances that are less than ideal, and I, for one, would find physical labor performed outdoors in the heat of summer and the cold of winter to be trying circumstances.  It would be hard for me to find satisfaction in ‘toilsome labor.”

Fortunately, I am blessed to work inside in a comfortable environment.  I also find great satisfaction in my job.  That doesn’t mean that I am always anxious to get up in the morning and go to my job.  It takes self-discipline for me to crawl out of my warm, comfortable bed when it is still dark outside to prepare to go to work.  Doing my job, however, brings great satisfaction.  I have pleasant co-workers and I enjoy helping my clients to start new business.  I know that the work I do is valuable and that adds to my satisfaction.

Last year, I chose Isaiah 55:2 as my ‘life verse’ for the year.  It says, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”  It helped me to focus my time and energy on satisfying activities and my purchasing on things I truly needed. Today’s verse reminds me again that I should exercise discipline and self-control in the way I spend my time.  I will truly be happier and more satisfied if I devote my time to my work, my ministries, and my relationships and if I avoid frittering away time in activities that do not truly bring satisfaction.


The books of Ecclesiastes contains a few other verses on finding satisfaction and joy in our work:

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.  Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of his life under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 8:15

“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.  This too, I see, is from the hand of God.”  Ecclesiastes 2:24

“That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil–this is the gift of God.”  Ecclesiastes 3:13


From these verses we see that God desires you to be fulfilled in your job.  Solomon even calls job satisfaction ‘the gift of God.’ If you find yourself in a job that does not bring satisfaction, I encourage you to ask God to help you adjust your attitude.   You should also prayerfully consider whether you need to look for another job.  As you allow God to direct you, He will lead you to the right job which will allow you to be satisfied and fulfilled.

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