So what if I’m outstanding in my field?
So what if I’m admired by thousands, or millions? So what if I’m envied by all humans everywhere? Domatter. “All labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.” Eccl 4:4 Human worthiness is meaningless. Domatter. The only worthiness that matters in this life, is the imputed worthiness of Jesus. When DAVE’S worthiness matters to Dave, I live in denial of my misery. A bottomless pit of need for yet-more worthiness. Life is UP TO DAVE. I’m never satisfied when my worthiness matters to me.
“I have seen another evil that weighs heavily on men: God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them.” Eccl 6:1
We have bought into the lie that human achievement/worthiness matters. It doesn’t. Not even ministry worthiness. But our flesh THINKS it matters. And so does the Church. And the worst part, is, we pay a horrible price: “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief: even at night his mind does not rest.” Eccl 2:22 Believers on the achievement treadmill are to be pitied above all men. We have not the benefit of Jesus.
Work is not the problem. Do work you enjoy, not work to make you feel worthy. Enjoy the process, not the results. Work that defines your identity, is slavery. Because it’s never enough, never finished. Contentment is the litmus-paper test. Worthiness/somebodiness is way-over-rated, and the imputed worthiness/somebodiness of Jesus is way-under-rated. This is the message of Ecclesiastes for Christians.
I ONLY experience contentment — enjoy my work, enjoy others and myself just as we are, and enjoy Jesus and His genius plan for our lives, when the Spirit freshly convicts me of the sin of independence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best. ShepherdDave knows what’s best and never experiences contentment, because the imputed worthiness of Jesus is unsatisfying to him. Only DumbSheepDave is satisfied with Jesus: asking, thanking, curious, expectant to see what his ReigningShepherdJesus does NEXT, in him, others, circumstances. Ahhh. Contentment is a priceless gift from Above.
Problem is, it doesn’t last long. Ongoing need for the convicting work of the Spirit.
“The sleep of a laborer [a nobody] is sweet, but the abundance of a rich man [somebody, outstanding in his field] permits him no sleep.” Eccl 5:12 “All his days he eats in darkness, frustration, affliction, and anger.” Eccl 5:17 Striving for excellence is brutally stressful.
—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships
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