June 3, 2023

Clocking in, Clocking Out ‘til You Die

If you try to find happiness and joy exclusively in what God has made, without knowing Him personally, you will never be fulfilled.

By Dr. James Thrasher

These are alarming numbers: In its recent State of the Global Workplace 2022 report, Gallup concluded that only 21% of workers are engaged and invested in their work. Over 70% of the nation’s employees are looking for new jobs. Most members of the workforce resent their job and are disengaged, bitter, miserable, unproductive, and doing more harm than good when they come to work. Hate your job — hate your life.

Many people who are exasperated with their careers end up sick, depressed, divorced, abusing substances, gaining weight, and questioning their worthiness. This is because one’s personal identity and happiness are often wrapped up in “what they do.” Americans have allowed their jobs to define their self-worth and identity. Many workers despise Monday mornings and live for “over the hump” day to arrive each week. We will spend more than 1/3 of our days working, which leaves most Americans feeling empty and unfulfilled.

“Take this job and love it” is not the mantra of workers in America. Most workers are fed up with the drudgery and mental exhaustion of earning a living.

So, what is the response to this tragic employment situation? Answer: medicate oneself by seeking personal pleasure during the evenings and weekends. This is done through numerous distractors, including entertainment, hobbies, sports, and drugs and alcohol. But the tranquilizer of choice is usually materialism — buying stuff. This perspective is summed up by the bumper sticker “the person with the most toys wins.”

What’s missing in finding meaning and purpose through work?

Solomon, author of Ecclesiastes, says that work brings pain and grief and that even at night his mind doesn’t rest. He then asks this question: “What does man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?” Solomon tried to medicate. We are told that he denied himself nothing his eyes desired — and refused his heart no pleasure. He built houses, planted vineyards, acquired a harem, amassed silver and gold, hired musicians to entertain him, and was gifted the delicacies of the world. His entire plan was to engage in self-pleasure until he could fill the void left by unsatisfying work.

Sound familiar? Based on earthly wisdom and total unabashed self-indulgence, Solomon was in pursuit of happiness, joy, and identity in created things, the things of this world — things he could see and touch. What did Solomon conclude? Not one of all these things he had pursued brought about that desired result. They, in and of themselves, left him empty. Reexamining his own personal experience, he makes an argument that human existence is indeed meaningless, and happiness will elude us, if one attempts to base one’s life on their own self-conceived identity and earthly work.

He concludes that the problem is man’s attempt to find meaning in the creation without knowing the Creator. Without Him nothing satisfies. All earthly things are short-lived, transitory, and fleeting. Anything in life, no matter what, cannot give meaning, purpose, identity, and joy apart from having a proper relationship with God. Solomon has taught us that true and lasting happiness comes from the hand of God.

Labor, apart from God, is futile.

Solomon, looking back on his life, lands on the answer to true soul-satisfying happiness and joy. Ecclesiastes 2:24 literally says, “there is not a good in man that he should be able to eat, drink and get satisfaction from his work.” Only through the eyes of the Lord can we understand who we are and how to view, value, and enjoy what He has made. Solomon rhetorically asks the question: without Him who can find enjoyment?

If you try to find happiness and joy exclusively in what God has made, without knowing Him personally, you will never be fulfilled.

If God is taken out of life’s equation, true happiness and meaning will elude you.

Fred, the retired college painter, knew that the cancer within him was about to take his life. As we sat together at a basketball game, like Solomon, he reflected back on his life and work at the college. What brought meaning and purpose to his life? He used his paint and brush to faithfully glorify and serve his Lord and point people to Christ. Yes, he did exactly that.

What will your reflections be?

Dr. Jim Thrasher is the Senior Advisor to the Vice President for Student Recruitment and the coordinator of the Institute for Faith & Freedom’s working group on calling.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.