Excess…lack of moderation…indulgence…absorbed…too much…me
I do things in excess. If I like it a little, I usually like it a lot. If I don’t like it, I leave it alone. I can’t clean the house a little. I like a clean house and when I choose to do it, get out of the way. I like food and want what I like, sometimes a lot of it. I should post the chocolate trifle recipe that I like…mercy! I have trouble with moderation. Ecclesiastes is giving me a new word for it…vanity.
I was in a discipleship role in a church several years ago. I remember that I slept very little, had an open door policy (I have boundaries now), ate standing up, worked, went to school, did ministry and complained about all of it. When the question began, “Could anyone….”, I would come running with my hand raised, “Me, me, me!” The sad thing is that I really did mean well. I guess that I thought I was that gifted. I had the desire, but desire has a center and dissipates with each thing that it touches. Everyone has to dip from the pool of their unique resources. Yes, we have access to the resources of heaven, but we have AN earthly purpose with A mortal body. God is concerned for these things. Often it is the mortal body that creates boundaries for us. That is an interesting day!
Ecclesiastes says it like this, Chapter 2, verse 22, “What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.” This verse addresses those days and nights of self-important sleeplessness with which I have engaged. I have indulged many times in forcing my body to exceed natural limitations, to be a dysfunctional slave to my perceived needs. I have scoffed at the Creator saying, “You just were not thinking of me when you made rest”. What vanity! If you are losing nights of sleep, ask yourself if you are changing anything through this form of neglect. Solomon says, “NO”.
Ecclesiastes 2:24, “There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God…” God desires that we eat, drink, toil, AND enjoy it. I have so many thoughts on this, so just one today.
Isn’t it wonderful to see a woman who enjoys her home? I love to go to someone’s house just dripping with hospitality. They invite you in and give you something yummy to eat and drink. You know that she would be fine if you said, “Could you give me a second, I just want to stretch out for a nap”. You are not afraid that you will catch something if you take your shoes off and put your feet on the floor. She loves this job, and it is a job, ladies. This is toil. The foundation for the kingdom takes place in her kitchen and living room. Think of all of the people that you have had in your home. Think of all of the talks that you have had around your kitchen tables. This is the toil that the Lord honors; the ministry of our homes. Eating, drinking, and toil are the first things that Solomon delineates as from the hand of God.
So congratulations, we are naturally disposed to toil/enjoyment. If you are toiling meaninglessly, stop it. Find some enjoyment in what you do. If you are talking about how meaningless your life is because of the toil that you do, love those around you and stop. I am so grateful that no one was unkind to me, but when I look back, how embarrassing. I should have just carried around a sign saying, “dissatisfied and vocal”. Of course, this might mean that you have to open your heart to a larger purpose for your toil. Ask God to show you what enjoyment there is in his plan for you. You might even find that you are living the wrong plan. We need to know when to say, “Yes” and “no” for this enjoyment thing to work.
So, we will intentionally toil, eat and drink, knowing that it is from the hand of God.
Thank you Father that you do not desire us to be drones in this life. You offer us the joy that is part of your character. Let us examine our hearts and search for your purposes. Give us moderation and hope that we can change.