Work is Good for the Soul

Is"work" considered a profane four-letter word today? Many do not appreciate the biblical teachings concerning our requirement to work for the things we need. God placed the word "work" with its derivatives at least seven hundred and fifty times in the Bible! If one were to look up all the synonyms such as "create," "made" and others, it would be several times that number. All are familiar with the concept that after the six days work of creating, God rested from His work. And to show both the value of work and rest, He set aside one day, the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11) for man. After the Sabbath rest of the Old Testament, the New Testament equivalent is in looking forward to the rest of God in heaven (Hebrews 4:9-11). Jesus said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). The apostle Paul in the New Testament urged Christians to "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Ephesians 4:28). In fact going even further, Paul wrote, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The facts are, that it is important for the mental well-being for everyone to work! We all know what it means when our 2-5 year old child gets very quiet, and we go check on them. They are probably crayoning the walls, or getting into other mischief! Someone has said that "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

 You may remember reading about the "Mayflower Compact." This was made in 1620 when the first colonists from England landed and was largely communistic. All were to share equally in whatever game they caught, or vegetables they harvested, and no one had any individual ownership. All was to be supplied according to each person's need. In three years they almost starved. Governor Bradford changed the rules, so that each person or family unit had exclusive rights to what they produced or raised, and there was an instant turn-around of the fortune of all. This writer was a mailman who witnessed in the1960s, through 1980s and our "War on Poverty" which was the real beginning of the modern welfare state. Young unmarried pregnant women were given an apartment, food stamps, Medicaid and welfare check. For many it was an escape from an abusive home and freedom to do as they wished. It quickly became a way of life! There was no incentive to do better for many of these. One of the facets of the Welfare Reform act signed in the 90s by President Clinton required work or training for those who were able-bodied, but that act was gutted by our present administration! Everyone may need a helping hand from time to time, and no one should resent this, but it ought not become a way of life.

All should be productive to earn for themselves their food and other things they need. It teaches responsibility and accountability, two sorely needed attributes in our present culture. In addition, there is pride of having accomplished something productive! We remember reading in the news a few years ago about a man who had fathered more than fifteen children by three different women, and he was indignantly quoted demanding that someone support them! This is extreme, but thousands are essentially demanding the same thing today! We all are accountable to ourselves, but even more serious is the fact that we will be accountable to God one day. The wise man concluded the Book of Ecclesiastes with the following: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

 Ed Rodgers, Forney, TX