Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 “Motivation and Work”
What motivates you in your work?
The reality for many of us is that this is a very dynamic and hard question to ask. We often don’t analyse our own motives and instead often just go though the motions as we seek to provide for needs and desires. In Colossians 3:23 Paul reminds us that no matter what we do, we should do it heartily as for the Lord and not for men.
The question then becomes; Are you motivated by a desire to serve and please the Lord Jesus Christ in your work? The reason this is so important to ask ourselves this question is because Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 identifies two common, productive ways that we are motivated to work which aren’t healthy or biblical. The first is to be motivated to work by envy, the second is to be motivated to work by discontentment.
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity[a
] and a striving after wind.
5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.