The Journey Is The Joy

The Journey Is The Joy

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. ” Ecclesiastes 2:11

When David’s son, Solomon, ascended to the throne, we are told that he was allowed to ask God for one thing… and Solomon asked for wisdom. God was impressed that he did not ask for riches or long life or peace, so God gave Solomon wisdom as well as wealth and peace and a long life. In that life, Solomon did a lot to build the kingdom of Israel, not the least of which was building the first temple for the Lord in Jerusalem. 

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon is reflecting on all that he has done, all that he has strived to do, and calls it vanity, chasing after wind, chasing after something you can never catch. A few verses later in his reflection, Solomon comes to the conclusion that where human beings actually derive enjoyment in life is from our toil, our work, from overcoming the obstacles in our way. (Even if at the time, that toil doesn’t feel enjoyable.)

The reason for this, probably even more apparent in our society, is that when we reach a goal or the conclusion of a project, we experience the pleasure of that completion for only a very short amount of time before we start looking for the next thing. For example, we’ve all known people who are excited after buying their first house, but in a relatively short amount of time, begin planning a remodel or looking for another home, a bigger home, or perhaps a second home somewhere else. Every great achievement, every dream fulfilled, no matter how happy it makes us, often quickly leads us to look for the next challenge to face.

This is part of the nature of consumerism, but it is also part of our nature as human beings. God created us to find joy in the process, in the overcoming of obstacles, and not necessarily in the accomplishment of a goal. If the end was the only place we found enjoyment, we might feel inclined to stop moving forward and thus, stop growing. 

When we can acknowledge that we experience joy in the process, in the overcoming of adversity, we can become more content with the process, and less confused when, after finishing something, we find ourselves looking to another horizon. May our lives always be about about moving forward and not about reaching a destination.

Finding joy in the grind, 

Pastor Mike

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