True Profitable Labor.
“What profit has a man from all his labor under the sun?” (Eccl.1:3)
The Bible asks us to stop for a while and consider the purpose and profit of our pursuits in life.
God instituted that man should work for 6 days and rest on the seventh. Also, the Bible tells us that those who do not work for a living should not also eat.
“We gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2Thess 3:10)
Yet, it is important to understand that life and work is not just about filling our stomach and surviving in the world.
Psalm 90:10 tells us that our life is full of labor
Psalm 104:23 tells us that man goes to his labor till evening
Yet, the wise king Solomon had this to say about all human labor:
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. (Eccl.2:11)
Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. (Eccl.2:20)
He exclaimed that all labor is vanity of vanities, meaningless, and a chasing after the wind. What he meant to say was that if work was only about worldly things, “under the sun”, and didn’t have the eternal in perspective (Eccl.3:11), then meaninglessness would be a result, because man is not just a beast or an advanced animal; humans are spiritual beings.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE OF HUMAN LABOR
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (Eccl.3:11)
I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? (Eccl 3:18-21)
Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Eccl 12:6-7)
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us… (Acts 17:26-27)
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. (Ps 128:1-2)
As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor — this is the gift of God. (Eccl 5:19)
The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin. (Prov 10:16)
Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase. (Prov 13:11)
In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty. (Prov 14:23)
The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor. (Prov 21:25)
All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied. (Eccl 6:7)
Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. (1Cor 6:13)
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:27)
LABORING FOR THE KINGDOM
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:37-38)
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Eph 4:28)
Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. (Rom 16:12)
Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1Cor 3:8)
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1Cor 15:10)
To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Col 1:29)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1Cor 15:58)