Here it is today … we reveal the secret to a good attitude. Listen up, if you’re raising little human beings, this could be the best parenting advice you ever receive. Advice that also applies directly to your own life as well.

Toil or spoil.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 “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.”

Hmmmm, this is the gift of God – to toil. Have you been toiling? What is toil anyway? The definition of toil is to work extremely hard. That is God’s gift. Here have something to eat, have something to drink and work your butt off, and be happy while you do it.

I have raised 3 children. I learned a lot in raising teenagers. One thing I noticed is the the correlation between their attitude and how good they feel about themselves. If we ever had a problem with our kids, deep down they weren’t feeling good about themselves. If we wanted good attitudes in our home, we had to figure out how to help them feel good about themselves.

Here was the secret … work … hard work! If there’s no toiling, their attitude will spoil.

At one point we lived on a 200 area ranch in a tiny rural town in Arkansas. I’m talking real tiny town where the only job options are Dollar General, McDonalds and WalMart – none of which ever seemed to hire teens. I had this fabulous 16 year old son who desperately struggled with his attitude. And remember, what’s at the core of a bad attitude … he didn’t feel good about himself. So, we told him to find odd jobs and get busy working. He would pick rocks for an entire day and come home with $70, or clean an old man’s shed with 40 years of build up. His most memorable odd job was on a chicken farm. One chicken house held 30,000 chickens and his job was to sort through all the chickens and find the dead ones and haul them out in buckets.

Classy? Not so much. But he came home feeling good about himself. And because he started feeling good about the work he had done, his attitude was automatically better. Today that boy is the hardest working young man I know. Yesterday he called me at the end of a 24 hour shift, his car broke down on the road and he was having it towed, and he still had a good attitude. Guess why? Because he feels good about himself! God’s gift to my boy was toil!

And aren’t we the same? If we don’t toil, our attitudes spoil We don’t do well when we’re doing nothing. We may complain about our “toil” but have we forgotten it is the very thing that makes us feel better about ourselves too? It is God’s gift to us – it’s a gift because God knows he created us to thrive most when we are working towards something. You weren’t created to sit on your couch. Sitting on your couch will never make you feel good inside. You know why? Because you’ve lost your toil and toil is God’s gift to his creation. You were made to be working towards something in life. And if you’re not, you don’t feel good. And when you don’t feel good about you, your attitude super sucks.

I’m sure you’re working towards something, hopefully you are. You’re working towards paying off some debt. You’re working towards getting your degree or advancing in your job. You’re working towards losing weight or being healthier. You’re working towards improving relationships, or selling your house, or buying a better car, or raising decent human beings. Don’t despise the work that you’re doing. Sure it can go unnoticed and without thanks, but this is God’s gift to you. Do your work today the best you can, with a smile. Be happy in your toil and you know what, you will feel good.

You will feel good even BEFORE the goal weight is met. I bet there are very few of us that woke up this morning and weighed in at our goal weight. Most of us are ON that journey, and some of us need to begin that journey today. But you don’t have to be miserable between now and goal weight. Work hard, and feel good about your work. Be happy now while you work.

If you’re struggling with maintaining a good attitude, could it be because you don’t feel good about yourself? You know you have more in you than you’ve been giving … you know you’ve been showing up with less than your best. Well, how about we change that? You can, I promise. For this one day, give it your all. I dare you to see how you feel after this single day of your best effort and hardest work. You may just shock yourself!

When we cheat, we cheat ourselves. Stop cheating yourself of your best. Stop cheating yourself of feeling dang proud of yourself.

If you’re happy in your toil you will feel good even BEFORE the baby sleeps through the night, before you land that perfect job, before you can easily get through a month without pinching pennies, before you get the new car and the new house. You’re working towards something and this makes you a better person with a better attitude … all by God’s great design.

Today you will get up off the couch and you will work – you’re supposed to work. It’s God’s gift to you so that you can feel good about yourself and your life. Be happy in it. Don’t wait until you’ve arrived on the other side of success to feel good. This is all you have, right here right now. Let’s not waste it. This is precious, priceless living today in front of us. There is nothing better than for you and I to be happy and to do good while we live. Today we eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all our toil—this is the gift of our loving God.

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