Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Covenant of Hard Work

“There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.” ~Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NRSV).

In an all-or-nothing life, people who approach it with an all-or-nothing attitude are favoured. There is hardly a better blessing than the satisfaction of a job well done. All-or-nothing people feel the need to commit themselves fully to a task or project, and the purpose of their lives, or back out without a reservation. There is clear distinction either way.

But there is a catch.

The favouring of all-or-nothing people might sound prejudiced against those middle-of-the-road persons disposed to a more balanced life, one respecting wisdom and the discernment of a correct path, but it isn’t. All-or-nothing people will only be blessed if they also hit that cherished destiny: the middle-of-the-road, peaceable, narrow path. For, there are many extremists who are all-or-nothing people but have little sense of balance.

Perhaps we think this is a discussion at crossed purposes. It’s not. Blends for wisdom are complex. Wisdom might be an easier thing to observe than to describe.

To loan a truism from Muhammad Ali, the good life (wisdom) involves both skill and will—the latter is the commitment of diligence.

The Best of Visions – The Preparedness to Work Hard Because of Love

Exactly what motivates people to work hard? Motivation might be the thing that separates the wise from the unwise, because it goes to the heart of the issue—what resides in our hearts.

What reason do we work for? Is the cause a noble one or a selfish one?

Those who learn to love their work, and do it for love, end up blessed as a result. On the contrary, people who loathe their work, and work generally, have miserable lives.

People investing the most in life make a covenant with themselves, and presumably with God, to work hard and to enjoy the profits of that work: well earned rest and the fruit of their labours.

Agreed beforehand, it is easier to love our work because we have resolved to do so.

Troubleshooting the Cause of Apathy for Work

Notwithstanding covenants to work hard, there come times, for varying reasons, when our resolve to work hard goes AWOL because, for instance, the purpose has evaporated from our work.

These times are a test.

Many times the discomfort experienced is healthy as it forces us to re-evaluate what we should be doing. We may be compelled to search for something new. Sometimes, however, change may not be an option and we must steel ourselves to respond in the self-discipline of moral or stoic diligence.

Overall, though, our attitude towards work should be vibrant; diligence is a marvel for the reputation and even better for others closely connected to us. Is there a better trait than being trustworthy and reliable; being people good at finishing tasks to the appropriate quality?


There is a final word to be had on working hard.

If we want a job done, best we do it ourselves or have the pleasant influence to make it happen. There is no use scowling about the place for work not done.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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