Now that we’ve hit midterms here at Harvard, I know I’m in need of a little optimism. It seems like the papers just keep piling up, and that all the work I put into them is for naught. It can often be difficult to focus on the long-term rewards when the present is difficult, and Ecclesiastes 3 is a good reminder of what one’s approach to work should be.
I’ll reproduce it here:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil–this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 (NIV)