One poignant memory of growing up was scripture memorization. Sunday school was little more than learning a Bible story and a memory verse for the day. The following week you needed to remember the lesson and the memory verse or else the teacher may not be too pleased with you. Some were however randomly selected especially from wisdom literature. Recently this one came to mind;
“Uria ukuona wa gwika na guoko gwaku, wike na kio amu kuu tuguthii mbiriraini gutiri undu wikagwo kuo, na gutiri umenyo na gutiri wiciiria” Kohelethu 9:10
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. Eccl 9:10
A number of lessons emerge from this words of Solomon.
- Whatever your hand finds to do: A lot of times we are choosy about what we devote our time and energy fully to and rightly so. The wisdom here is to do what is available and open to us in a particular way. It is not to attempt to do everything, but to do that which is ours to do rightly. There is lots for us to do at any given time from mundane routine tasks to demanding jobs – all of them are important tasks but whatever it is – polishing shoes, working on a business presentation, writing a funding proposal, planting trees, reading for children, cleaning the house or playing a game – we are to do it in a given way.
2. Do it with all your might: The temptation to be half-hearted about things is real hence the call to do whatever we are doing with all our might. I am persuaded that an all or nothing approach is probably the best way to approach life, work or relationships. Dabbling in this and the other not only leads to poor productivity but also misleads others as our intentions are never clear. Kenyans have this social pressure of not wanting to let down anybody and so we try to do everything. Eventually we spread ourselves too thin and our weight is never felt anywhere because we are everywhere. Might we need to heed Jesus’ words: Let your yes be yes and your no be no, anything else comes from the evil one. [Matt 5:37]. Is it any wonder then that Jesus calls us to love the Lord our God wholeheartedly (mind, body and spirit). Anything short of that is idolatry – we are either to have/behold/love all of him or none of him. We are not to be samplers of other ‘options’ out there. We are to be fully sold out to him or we are not His.
3. You will soon be dead: Solomon puts across death as the motivation for wholehearted commitment to work and it is a great reminder. Where you are going – It is clear here that human life tends towards the grave. I like the sharp contrast between life and death – nothing could be clearer or even closer to the human experience. It is a binary system – you are either alive or dead. Because you are alive, do things like you are full of life because you will soon be dead. Sadly we live in denial of the reality of death. But if you knew you will die (say tomorrow), what would you do differently? How might you spend the remaining time? Well, the Bible tells you plainly – you will die. (Think about that for a moment. I know you have promises in Christ and if he tarries, you will physically die). Life is short and therefore everything you can do is both urgent and important. You therefore have to be careful about what you say yes to. When you die you cannot think or blog or love your family. No you cannot share the gospel with that person, you won’t attend Bible studies or fellowships or go for missions. Nothing happens in the world of the dead. Do those things now – in the limited time you have. It may be culturally inappropriate but we need that reminder before us all the time – that it is appointed for us to die and after that judgement/accounting. If you are struggling to love your spouse or children or being committed to your spiritual family – here’s something to jolt you out of your laxity and half-heartedness: you will soon be dead. Now wake up you sleeper!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24