It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
It’s not uncommon for me to stay up past midnight during the final weeks of a school semester, only to find myself up again before the sun has risen. For example, over the last twenty-four hours, I’ve spent five sleeping, five working, three in class, and eleven hours in study or transition from one thing to another. Unfortunately, a busy schedule isn’t always the greatest sign of maturity… add to that the “self-made millionaire” mentality of our culture and life can get away from you before you know it.
While my mom would be proud of the “unsupervised motivation” she developed in my work habits, verses like Psalm 127:2 help to balance the glorification of diligence with the reality of my total depravity. “The bread of painful labors” may come with much satisfaction and glory, but the Lord “gives to His beloved even in his sleep!”
This verse reminds me that, to be a successful student, I must place more priority on becoming “the beloved of the Lord” than on becoming one who painfully labors over dead languages, church histories, and anything else that may show up on a final exam. It encourages me to get some sleep and find that the Lord may bless my desire for Him more than my desire for a good grade.