“Faith in Christ does not relieve anyone of hard work….” -G.Keddie

TEccles-GKeddieonight our men’s Bible study group meets to discuss Ecclesiastes 11. In preparing yesterday, I read these good words from the pen of Gordon Keddie, found in his commentary on this book titled Looking for the Good Life (P&R, 1991). They make for great food for thought as we begin the work-week.

Faith in Christ does not relieve anyone of hard work; it only makes it possible to get on with the job in a joyful spirit that expects God’s blessing, whatever the immediate outcome may be.

…Qoheleth’s counsel is to ‘sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle’ (11:6a). Get busy! Redeem the time! Diversify your work investment by using morning and evening, even for different goals. The more doubts you have about the general situation, the more diligent you should be to get to work for the Lord in every aspect of life. If the times seems meaningless, you are called by God to bring meaning to them! If you ‘sow for yourselves righteousness,’ then you will ‘reap the fruit of [God’s] unfailing love (Hos.10:12). God has promised that ‘at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ (Gal.6:9). Paul’s encouragement to Timothy the preacher – ‘be prepared in season and out of season’ (Ii Tim.4:2) – has its application to us all. Especially at times when we don’t feel like putting in the effort (‘out of season’), we should be most ceaselessly active in living life for the Lord.

The reason for such driving diligence is precisely because ‘you do not know which will succeed, whether this [sowing seed] or that [your evening work], or whether both will do equally well (11:6b). The point is a positive one, not a counsel of despair. We may not know the future, but God does. Our job is to work in faith and leave the rest to God. And that is where we can have a confidence that reinforces our commitment and uplifts our hearts. Our confidence is not, please note, in some mystical assurance of success in all we do; it is rather a confidence in the Lord himself and an assurance, by faith, that whatever happens, there will be a blessing in it for us. ‘Those who sow in tears will read with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him (Ps.126:5-6).

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