Be grateful for work

We have been commanded to work. "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work," the Lord declared in His commandment on the sabbath day. (Ex. 20:9.) Work is what makes life worthwhile, gives meaning to our aspirations and satisfies our souls.

Work also puts into practice that which we have learned. As the adage states: He who learns and learns and never does is like the farmer who plows and plows and never sows.President Spencer W. Kimball emphasized the value of work. "As a boy I saw how all, young and old, worked and worked hard. We knew that we were taming the Arizona desert, but had I been wiser then, I would have realized that we were taming ourselves, too.

"Honest toil in subduing sagebrush, taming deserts, channeling rivers, helps to take the wildness out of man's environment but also out of him. The disdain for work among some today may merely signal the return of harshness and wildness - perhaps not to our landscape but to some people.

"The dignity and self-esteem that honest work produces are essential to happiness. It is so easy for leisure to turn into laziness." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 362.)

"Work," according to President J. Reuben Clark Jr., "is a wonderful thing."

Speaking at general conference in October 1936, President Clark, then first counselor in the First Presidency, said, "If we can just get into our minds the dignity and the honor of work, no matter what that work may be, most of the ills from which we suffer will be solved." (Church News, Oct. 17, 1936.)

Parents are to provide the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter for their families. As Paul wrote to Timothy: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." (1 Tim. 5:8.)

Parents also have a responsibility to teach their children to work. Children need to learn to work, first by their parents' example and second by being given tasks they can do on their own.

But work is more than just providing for the necessities of life. Work brings happiness, self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment that cannot come in any other way.

It is a great blessing to be able to work.

President Ezra Taft Benson, who learned the benefits of hard work while growing up on a farm in southern Idaho, has talked about work in many of his speeches.

At a 4-H show in Modesto, Calif., in 1980, he advised: "Today we are witnessing a trend in all countries - a trend away from the work ethic to the welfare ethic. To put it another way, you young people, no doubt, have heard some express that it is their right to be supported by another man's labor. That philosophy is wrong. It has proved the ruination of character in individuals and the downfall of nations."

On another occasion, he said, "Energetic, purposeful work leads to vigorous health, praiseworthy achievement, a clear conscience, and refreshing sleep. Work has always been a boon to man."

And still another time, he declared, "If we want to keep the Spirit, we must work. There is no greater exhilaration or satisfaction than to know, after a hard day of work, that we have done our best."

"Be grateful for work," President Benson has admonished. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 481-483.)

"Be grateful for work" - that could well be our clarion call each day as we prepare for that day's labors.

Work comes in many forms and it doesn't matter what we do, providing it is honest labor and we give it honest effort.

"There are chances for work all around just now,

"Opportunities right in our way.

"Do not let them pass by, saying, `Sometime I'll try,'

"But go and do something today.

" 'Tis noble of man to work and to give;

"Love's labor has merit alone.

"Only he who does something helps others to live.

"To God each good work will be known."

(Hymns, No. 223.)

The principle of work has remained constant in a rapidly changing world. The principle of work is eternal. The decree, given thousands of years ago, that "in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Gen. 3:19) is still basic today.

May we have a wholesome respect for labor whether with head, heart or hand. May we ever enjoy the satisfaction of honest toil. President Benson has said that we will never wish or dream ourselves into heaven. We must pay the price in toil, in sacrifice and in righteous living.

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