August 6, 2012

All Your Might

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I came across a quote today.  I was already familiar with it, and probably you are as well, but it sprang out at that moment because I happened to be thinking about working on projects I didn't want to be working on; I was, in fact, pretty actively procrastinating - if that is even possible.  So the quote was very pointed indeed.

whatever your hand finds to do, 
do it with all your might.

ecclesiastes 9:10

Granted, the Preacher was not exactly a cheery fellow; judging from the whole of Ecclesiastes, and from scholars' arguments in favor of Solomon being the author, it appears that he was a world-weary and perhaps God-starved man looking at life through jaded eyes.  His proverbs tend to be negative; the full verse quoted above reads, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."  Not particularly bright and sunshiny.  It sounds almost like Russian literature.

And yet it is nonetheless true, and for a much more glorious reason than the Preacher brought out.  Another quote sprang to mind as I read this one:

so, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

first corinthians 10:31

The two verses mesh; they complement each other.  The Preacher, world-weary and God-starved as he may have been, was yet a wise man: it is true that whatever our hands find to do, we ought to do with all our might.  But not merely because we will eventually no longer be able to do it.  We put our might into these things for a greater reason; we have a higher goal, we march to a more joyful beat.  And that reason, that goal, that beat, is the glory of God.

It is not only our duty, but our greatest good and, we hope and pray, our greatest happiness to glorify God.  We were made to glorify Him.  What does the catechism say?  "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever," or, as some would rephrase it, "...to glorify God by enjoying Him forever."  This is an ongoing, lifelong, daily process, worked out in our most common actions - in our praise and prayer and meditation, and also in our work and our rest.  I Corinthians and Ecclesiastes can be put together, I think, because whatever our hands find to do, we do it with all our might for the glory of God.  

Most of us on this block of the blogosphere are writers.  Some are published; some aren't.  Some are treated by acquaintances as though "writer" were synonymous with "lazy bum."  In this context, I don't think it really matters.  The point is that, no matter what stage of life we are in, no matter the praise or disapprobation of others, we must do what we do with all our might.  If we're putting our hand to this plow - to any plow - we aren't meant to look back.  To co-op a third and totally extra-biblical quote, we shouldn't know how to dabble in things we should be earnestly pursuing.  Perhaps "dabble" shouldn't be a word in the Christian's vocabulary at all.  Labor and perseverance, prayer and praise - those are words much better suited to us.

kudos if you know the reference of that third quote

7 comments:

  1. That passage is so encouraging. <3 And I really needed that - thanks. :)

    ~bree

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  2. Thank you. This post puts me in mind of a fourth - no, fifth - quote, spoken in such lofty, disdainful tones as frequently spout from the Bearer of the Title of Darkly-Pigmented Muffins:

    I wouldn't know how to dabble.

    And on that note, I'll take the kudos and scoot. >.<

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  3. This is encouraging, Abigail, not to mention invigorating. It really makes one want to go out and do something worthwhile, and do it with all of their might. :)

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  4. Thank you, Abigail, for this encouraging, challenging post... I especially need it now as I have been prone to procrastination lately with my Mathematics school-load :p. But even that... even everything in life must be done with all our might, and must be done to honour and glorify our Lord and Saviour. He is worthy of all our lives. And by honouring Him and working hard in the smallest and easiest things to the hardest and biggest things, He is well-pleased.

    God bless and I am glad you wrote about this theme today, and shared these passages from Scripture as I think I needed them :)

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  5. Bree - Needful passages do have a habit of springing out at you in the most unexpected ways, don't they?

    Anna - Ah ha! I knew you at least would get the reference. It is, in all honesty, one of my favorite life-quotes; unfortunately I can't quote it in that voice. (Black Muffins!)

    Emily - Doesn't it? I think both of those passages should be often repeated, because they're so applicable to everyday life. Of course, so are a thousand others!

    Joy - Amen. And I'm glad you found this encouraging; I hoped it would be uplifting to all Scribbles readers, whether writers or not: these things are true for all walks of life.

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  6. Thank you for this convicting post, Abigail. Few people have the maturity to speak so boldly, especially with today's "live for the moment, don't look back" mentality. Your words found their mark, as I can procrastinate and do not always spend my time as wisely as I should, but I am very thankful that you had the courage to post them. I believe the Lord used you to give me a much-needed reminder in this area, especially since, as you said, these things are true for all walks of life, and not just writing.

    — Elizabeth Rose

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  7. Wonderful and convicting, Abigail! Thank you so much! I really enjoyed this post. :-)

    -Patience

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meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
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Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
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Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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