Friday, August 18, 2017

Getting Paid to Play a Game

One of my favorite baseball movies is The Rookie. The movie follows the true life story of a man who had blown out his pitching arm in college but got a second chance to play baseball years later when he was teaching high school science and coaching the school's baseball team. In the years since college his arm had healed and, trying out only to satisfy a team of high school boys, he discovered that he was throwing the ball 97 miles per hour. He was signed to a minor league contract in the hopes that he would play for the major leagues, but as he got into the day-to-day grind of life on the road, he began to get discouraged. Away from his family and advancing through the system more slowly than he would like, he considered quitting and going back to teach high school science. As he was out walking one night, ready to quit, he came across a little league baseball game where he watched little kids playing baseball and having the time of their lives. The next morning, he walked into the clubhouse and, with a big grin on his face, asked his teammate, "Do you know what we get to do today? We get to play baseball!" He had remembered that he was getting paid to play a game for a living and had chosen to enjoy it again.

Now, clearly, most of us don't get to play games for a living, but we all understand what it is like to be discouraged with our jobs. We all understand what it is like to be discouraged and want out. Many of us don't make as large a salary as we would like and often find ourselves with little left once the bills have been paid. Those truths make this passage from Ecclesiastes even more profound: God has also given riches and wealth to every man, and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God... (Ecclesiastes 5:19, HCSB). Reading that, some of us immiedately want to argue, "God didn't give me wealth and riches! God didn't give me a job that I enjoy!" But even when we argue, scripture still reads, God has also given riches and wealth to every man, and he has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God...

God has given each of us wealth, especially if you are reading this within the borders of Western Civilization. Even the poor in America are wealthy compared to much of the world. But beyond that, the author of Ecclesiastes is demonstrating a valuable truth: wealth has little to do with how you compare with other people, and enjoying your job is something God allows you to do, not something God causes you to do. Enjoying your labor is something God gives us the ability to choose. Like the old Disney song "Whistle While You Work," we can choose to make our jobs as enjoyable as possible, to have a good attitude and to see the positive, regardless of how the man in the next office is behaving or how unreasonable that customer is. God has given every one of us wealth, the ability to enjoy it, and the ability to rejoice in our labor. The question is, will we rejoice in our labor, in the place where God has situated us for the time being, or will we allow feelings of frustration and resentment to seethe within us and boil over into something nasty and unpleasant?

You have been given wealth, the ability to enjoy it, and the ability to rejoice in your labor. Will you begin acting and thinking like it?

Insulting Your Dinner Host

Suggested Reading: Ephesians 3 One of the things that drove me crazy when my children were younger was how they had no shame in asking p...