“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Solomon is commonly referred to as the wisest man to ever live (1 Kings 10:23). And this is certainly true, as he was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is therefore fitting to classify Solomon’s writings as Wisdom Literature, and to expect to find the Wisdom of God therein.
Most people are familiar with the Book of Proverbs. Yet few can seem to draw encouragement from the Book of Ecclesiastes, with the common theme that all things are vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2). After all, we want to believe our lives have value and worth; that there is purpose to our life experiences.
But I submit for the reader’s consideration that the Books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are not at odds with one another. Rather, these books are in fact complementary – that is, they go hand-in-hand as they show us two different aspects of one consistent Truth.
Proverbs presents practical idealisms of what life should be like if we were completely in line with God’s Word. Ecclesiastes shows probable realisms of what life more often is like because the world lies in darkness, devoid of the Light of Life. It also teaches us the proper response to a life that isn’t always ideal.
It is in this way that we are to understand our text within the context of the overall passage:
Ecclesiastes 9:7 tells us to rejoice because God has received us in the Beloved; that is, according to our position in Christ; our Oneness as His Body and His Bride.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 speaks of day-to-day sanctification and holy living; putting off the old man of the flesh and being clothed in the Righteousness of Christ.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 speaks of the home life; that it has God’s Blessing, and should be dutifully attended to.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 summarizes the focus of the passage by the inclusive word “Whatsoever”; that is, whatever we do should be done with all our might.
The point of this passage is that God has given us life, and would have us to live it abundantly (John 10:10). I certainly understand this to mean the Eternal Life of Christ, freely given by God’s Sovereign Grace to those He saves. Yet there is the undeniable temporal aspect to these words that directs us to live life to its fullest.
Therefore, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do [whatever you put your hand to, or whatever the Lord delivers up to your hand], do it with thy might” – knowing that you’ve no second opportunities to make good use of a life that is fleeting. This “might” speaks of both the strength and the determination to do a thing.
Solomon knew what he was talking about. His Position, Power, and Prestige gave him the opportunity to sample life in all its vanities (Ecclesiastes 1:12-14). Yet, in his great Wisdom, Solomon concluded that “the whole duty of man” was to “Fear God, and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). But there is more to our text than just doing something (or anything).
And so we understand that the right attitude is the key to transforming a life that is vanity and vexation of spirit, to one that is glorious unto God. Thus we have the distinction between the unprofitable servant, who obeys because he is commanded by Law (Luke 17:10) – and the profitable servant, who obeys because he is constrained by Love (2 Corinthians 5:14).
In this, we see the parallel between our text verse and several New Testament passages:
“… whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him… And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:17, 23–24)
From these passages, it becomes clear that to do something “with thy might” requires it to be done “heartily,” or whole-heartedly. It is saying that your whole heart should be directed toward the doing thereof. That is, to seek the Glory of God requires a heartfelt passion for His Glory.
There are many programs in the churches today. Programs are good. And they are to be utilized when possible for outreach and spreading the Gospel. But, more times than not, these programs only entertain the participants and do not build them up spiritually. They do not glorify God, because there’s no passion for His Glory.
Let me say it like this: a Program without Passion is fleshly activity resulting in fruit-less shows. On the other hand, Passion without a Program is spiritual inactivity resulting in show-less fruit. The two must be in conjunction for us to really seek the Glory of God with all our might.
Speaking of “Pure religion” (James 1:27), James tells us the correct relationship of works and faith:
“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:22)
Faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:17). The opposite is equally true: work without faith is sin (Romans 14:23). The two are coincident to one another, or else it is not of God – not for His Glory.
We may claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be seeking His Glory. But if our professions are not matched by actions – if our works do not support our words – then we are just sounding brass or tinkling cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1). Our Programs must by motivated by our Passion.
And so they are. The key distinction is to be found in the object of our passions. If we walk according to the flesh, our programs will fulfill the lusts of the flesh, entertaining carnal natures. But if we walk after the Spirit, having a passion for God’s Glory, our programs will be directed toward that Glory.
We see then that the Biblical concept of doing something “with thy might,” applies to our love for God, as we desire to serve Him by our devotions. We see that it also applies to the Love of God, as we yield our members unto righteousness in order that God’s Love will be ministered to others.
“And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:21)
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
There is a movement of sorts among the various churches of today. And while one should beware the danger of getting caught up in unscriptural ecumenism and humanistic “moves” of the Spirit of God (as they are claimed to be), there is usually a kernel of Truth that attracts our attention and warrants some consideration.
The movement I speak of is stated by the acronym “G.O. M.A.D.”; which stands for: Get Out and Make A Difference. The general concept is to motivate Christians to put faith into action by becoming a force for positive change in the world. The focus isn’t so much on preaching the Gospel and evangelism – but on humanitarian efforts and good deeds that intend to make a difference in people’s lives.
While the central thought of these movements may be commended, the only way to make a positive impact on the world is by living and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Millions of people know John 3:16. But so very few know the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone has Power to change a person’s life, giving it purpose and worth in the sight of God.
Our text tells us that to live life to the fullest; you must live life whole-heartedly to the Glory of God. It is sad that so much of our lives are focused on ‘self’ instead. Friend, if we are living for ‘self,’ we are not living for Christ, and our lives are vain indeed.
But God is Gracious, who forgives our weak and often vacillating love, and desires a close and intimate walk with each of His Children. Christ is calling you today to put off the old man and to put on Christ – the New Man – so that you many say: “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). That is a Life worth Living.