"Whatever your hands find to do, do with your might..." (Ecclesiastes 9:10a)
When I was a school teacher, I always thought it was best to keep my students busy, to give them enough work to do so that they would not have a lot of extra time to just sit and decide for themselves how to use that extra time. Some students could finish their work and have extra time for their own activities and they knew how to occupy themselves. Other students, however, did not know what to do with themselves if they had a block of time to use as they desired. Invariably, these last students would get into some mischief or cause a disturbance to happen if they were left to their own devices. Sometimes, students would complain to me that their workload was too great. I would pull out the old motto that I use as the title to this post, "Busy people are happy people, and I want to be sure that you are happy." Usually they would only sigh and frown at my attempt to be funny and return reluctantly to the work that I had given them.
I knew teachers who gave what they called "busy work" to students who finished their assignments. That "work" usually was pages to be colored or word hunts that had nothing to do with the content of any assignments. Many students recognized that such paperwork was only used to keep them busy and out of trouble. I had a third grade student tell me once that she hated coloring because she had to do so much of it during her earlier years of school. Extra work given to students had to have meaning in order for their to be the incentive for students to complete the assignment.
I think that the writer of Ecclesiastes was telling his contemporaries that there is plenty to be done in this world if we only take the time to look around and identify what is needed and then to set about doing the task at hand. There are jobs that need completion everywhere and many times we are just the one to do the task at hand. Either we have the right skills or sufficient energy or a unique talent that can be used to do what is required. Sometimes it only takes a willingness to serve in order to qualify one for a task.
I love it when people volunteer to do things that they see needs doing. I love for someone to ask if they can do a job that needs doing because they saw that it was unfinished or had never been begun. Sometimes a person will simply identify a need but will not make an effort to get the job done. Volunteering to do the job that has been identified (if one has the skills to accomplish it) brings a task to completion quickly. The writer of Ecclesiastes would agree, I think, that if you find a job that needs doing, then volunteer to do it so that the problem will be solved.
This Sunday I will be talking to the kids during our Children's Sermon about how all of us in the church should work together. There is a kid's song we will sing at the conclusion of the Children's Sermon. It is called, "When We All Pull Together". It is an old song I learned when I was a child. Each person has to have a partner and they hold hands while looking at one another and then pull in rhythm with both hands. The song says, "When we all pull together, how happy we'll be. For my work is your work and our work is God's work, when we all pull together, how happy we'll be."
In God's Kingdom, there is not "my work" or "your work" but there is only "our work" because "our work" is truly "God's work." When we are enlisted in working for God, then we do not care who gets the credit for doing the work. We only want the job to be accomplished so that the outcome will be one of love and grace and peace for all in God's world.
Busy hands are happy hands.....as are busy people. Stay busy, stay focused, stay alert to what is around you so that you can recognize what God would have you to do for God's Kingdom today.