God’s Gift of Satisfying Work

Ecclesiastes 3:13

…everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Many of us take for granted what we have or don’t have as it relates to work. When you have a career that fulfills you, rewards you, and gives you meaning in life, you may realize one day how blessed you have been. Others may admire you for your success, but you know happen chance is also a friend of yours. For most of us end up working at an occupation which we didn’t originally plan from our youth.

In my life time, I personally only know two people who knew what they wanted to do in high school, and upon their retirement lived out their youthful goals. The majority of the rest of us fell into different occupations until one of them became our breadwinner.

I myself spent the first ten years after college attempting to find something rewarding and fulfilling. I knew business was my field of endeavor and enjoyed working plus reaping the financial reward it brings, but struggled to find a niche. In those early ten years, I took roles in accounting, supervision, and even sales. In between, I delivered door samples, drove trucks, and filled vending machines. I took every role as a learning session preparing me for something else. Meanwhile, it paid the bills.

Only when I met my wife to be did I take a more strategic method to my waywardness.  Someone introduced me to the Johnson O’Connor Research Center which helps you analyze your 21 natural aptitudes and compares them with other people successful in their professional careers. This is where the doors opened up for me to pursue a career in the real estate industry. The rest is history.

When you align your God-given natural abilities with a desire to serve others for their success along with your passion to acquire knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of your field of study, you will rarely work a day of your life. You find opportunities will present themselves to you and allow you to choose the door which brings you satisfaction from work.

God created the world and planned for you and I to have the freedom of choice. People may try to steal your choice or you may even surrender your choice into bondage. Some may try to enslave you or you may choose to become enslaved. But God has already given you and I the means to make everyday special by expressing the attributes HE shares with us through the work we do. This is HIS gift to you, me, and  mankind.

If you are not satisfied in your current situation, ask HIM (pray) for help to resolve your dilemma. Then be attentive to the opportunities HE presents to you in your everyday routine. When something occurs outside the norm, pay special attention. When God is involved, the solutions are most often outside your normal think-tank. Be prudent. Not every opportunity is a prize. Some are trap doors. But you have to knock on the door and turn the knob. If it opens easily without negative repercussions, you may have your answer. If you have to force the door open, forget it. It’s not the one.

Life will present you with many opportunities. Time, experience, and history will teach you which ones may be better than others. There are no guarantees; only uncertainty. The only certainty you can count on is Jesus Christ being with you. So, whatever you face, you can lean on him and he will strengthen you and help you through the unwanted mess you may find yourself in; and also, be there to celebrate the good times with you.

God wants you to enjoy the life HE has created. The earlier we come to realize that fact and join HIM in his narrative, the quicker one comes to experience the richness of HIS life and all of creation.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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MINISTRY INSIGHTS FROM A TENT MAKER

 theology 6

Paul worked for 1 ½ years with a husband and wife team (Aquila and Priscilla) while conducting missionary work in Corinth (Acts 18:2).  While working as a tent maker, he continued to teach the Word in the local synagogue.  It is of interest how he employed the word “work” throughout his life and teachings, especially in relationship to what God is doing and what His people are doing.  The importance of work is highlighted throughout his letters.

Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:32-35, ”You yourselves know that these hands of  mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give, than to receive.'”

In the letter from Ephesians 4:28 Paul writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 he writes, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

In the above scriptures Paul emphasized the point of working to support oneself and one’s family rather than live as a beggar dependent on others for necessities. Paul himself demonstrated the importance of having a skill (tent making) that provides a service to others (shelter) and a livelihood for oneself. A Christian is to gladly work “unto the Lord” (Col 3:22-24).  The work one does should not glorify oneself, but God.  In addition, the work should be a means to provide for those less fortunate – “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also, as work relates to fulfilling God’s plan, He writes in Titus 1:7 that “an overseer is entrusted with God’s work.” Barnabas and Paul was set apart by the Holy Spirit for this work (Act 13:2-3). And not only were they commissioned for this work, but had to support themselves in the process (I Cor 9:6).  He again writes how one’s work for the Lord must stand the test of trials, difficulties, problems,  especially when we shall all be evaluated at the end of this age (I Cor 3:10-15).

He was primarily focused on the Lord’s work and only labored to support himself and his team, not to gain riches. He practiced what he preached.  The work of the Lord was the priority in his life and for all those that the Lord calls (I Cor 15:58, 16:9,10).  While working his craft, he contemplated and compared the physical craft of tent making to the spiritual work God is completing in us as a church and as an individual. His analogy of the body working together as a team with all its parts supporting one another is but one example of lessons learned while working (I Cor 12:12-13).

All tent-makers need to stand up and rejoice.  It is an example for all people everywhere that the craft, skill, profession, and work we perform is more than just to feed ourselves.  It’s a means of grace that we practice.  When we work, we are able to support those less fortunate than ourselves and therefore practice love of our neighbor.  When we work, we learn how God operates in our lives.  When we work, we are able to compare and better understand the spiritual realities we face each day.  When we work, we are able to express ourselves by the results of our labor.  When we work, we contribute to the community we reside in.  There are many valuable lessons we learn while we work. To paraphrase Jesus, “God works, and so do I.”

What other insights of ministry do you think Paul may have received while engaged as a tent maker?

Dr. Mike