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PHYSICAL WORK IS A GOOD THING
Victor M. Eskew
The United States has always been a nation of workers. It has been the hard work of our labor force that has brought this nation the prosperity is has and is enjoying. Those who work often grow tired of the daily routine. Everyone is glad when the weekend arrives. Everyone is happy to use as much of their vacation time as possible. Those who have worked for thirty of forty years look forward to the day when they no longer of to “punch the timeclock.” Even though we appreciate our time off, most also find fulfillment in work. The truth is that “Physical Work Is A Good Thing.” Some might be asking: “Is this really the truth?” Let’s show why this is the case in this article.
First, physical work is good because it gives us something to do. Twenty-four hours with nothing to do is a long time. Seven days without anything to do can seem like an eternity. Work occupies our time. This is a good thing. Someone has correctly said: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Paul wrote about some Christians who were not working in II Thessalonians 3:11. Listen to the fruits of their listlessness. “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.” The apostle describes their behaviors with two words, disorderly and busybodies. Neither behavior is profitable. Both bring trouble upon the individual and others. When we are laboring with our hands, we do not have time to be involved in evil things. If we have worked hard, we do not feel like getting into wickedness at the end of the day. God was wise when He commanded Israel, saying: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work” (Exo. 20:9).
Second, physical work enables each individual to provide for himself and his family. It was Paul who said: “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (II Thess. 3:10). God ordained work as the means whereby we acquire our sustenance and any luxuries that we enjoy. God tells us that if a man is capable of supporting himself and his family, but will not, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8).
Third, physical work grants the laborer a sense of satisfaction and pride deep within himself. He puts in a hard day of work. At the end of the day, things have been accomplished. He has reached goals. He has built structures. He has planted fields. He has provided much needed service to others. At the end of the week, his labors pay off in the form of a paycheck. Now, he is able to purchase things he both needs and wants. Over a long period of time, he has much to show for his labors. He has his own “little kingdom” in which he takes much pride. Yes, he remembers that they are blessings from God (see Luke 12:16-21), but he also knows that his efforts were involved in the acquisition of all that he has.
Fourth, physical labor trains one in some very important traits. Discipline is a much needed trait in all of our lives. Discipline is learned by doing the same things over and over and over again. Another trait we learn by working is responsibility. Every job has certain job requirements. We are expected to “get the job done.” Another trait that is learned on many job sites is teamwork. Most do not work alone. They are part of a system. Others are depending on them to get their work done. When all do their part great accomplishments are made.
Fifth, physical labor also helps to keep us in better physical and mental condition. If we were at home all day, we would grow lazy. Too, we would probably eat way too much. Working allows us to move. Too, we cannot eat all day long. In addition to the physical benefits of work, there are also mental benefits that are received. The mind is engaged. It focuses on tasks. It is solves problems. It figures out the best way to communicate with others. A mind that is active and alert reduces the chances of mental problems that can develop when the mind is not engaged.
Sixth, physical labor is good because it involves one’s obedience to the will of the heavenly Father. When God created man, He did not put him in the Garden of Eden with nothing to do. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). God wanted man to work. He wanted man to be busy laboring with his hands. Some think that man only began to work after the fall. Not so. The fall only made man’s work more difficult (Gen. 3:17-19a). When God made his covenant with the nation of Israel, He commanded them to work six days a week and to rest on the seventh day (Exo. 20:8-11). Within the New Covenant, God also exhorts man to work. Paul wrote these words to the church at Thessalonica: “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (I Thess. 4:11). In his second letter to this same church, he gave a similar command. “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (II Thess. 3:12). Yes, work is commanded by God. Those who engage in physical labor are adhering to the Lord’s will.
Physical work is not a curse; it is a blessing. As we have seen, it provides numerous benefits to those who engage in it. We are thankful to all who have gone before and who have blessed us with their labors. To those who are presently working, we say: “Keep up the good work!” (pardon the pun). And, may we teach our children and all in the younger generation the benefits of hard work. If we do not, we will reap the evil fruits of a generation of people living lazy, pointless lives. God created man with a mind and a body that can work. May everyone come to see the good that comes from putting in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.