Work Is a Blessing
WORK a blessing? Yes, rightly viewed and unless conditions are too burdensome, work is a blessing. And that is true for more than one reason, even as the Scriptures and the facts show.
The Bible tells us that God and Jesus Christ are workers and that they are happy. And concerning the blessing of work, a wise king of old, Solomon, once said: “Look! The best thing that I myself have seen, which is pretty, is that one should eat and drink and see good for all his hard work with which he works hard under the sun . . . and to rejoice in his hard work.” “It is the gift of God.”—Eccl. 5:18, 19; 3:13.
For one thing, work is a blessing because by means of it we can honestly supply our needs. More than that, there is more satisfaction in having earned something than in having received it as a gift. There is no question but what the unemployed man who is sincerely looking for work appreciates that work is a blessing. However, if one has the opportunity to work but does not want to, the Bible rule is “neither let him eat.”—2 Thess. 3:10.
The blessing of work is not limited to its supplying us with what we need in a material way—food, clothing, shelter, recreation, and so forth. We need work for our own well-being, both of body and mind. The Creator endowed us with the capacity for work, both physical and mental, and for true satisfaction and contentment we must make use of the gifts with which we have been endowed. That is why a man who earns his bread primarily by his thinking ability rather than by the use of his muscles finds that for sound health he needs to have some physical exertion.
Well has it been observed: “Working is as much a necessity to a man as eating and sleeping.” It is, in fact, the best justification for eating and sleeping. As much as we enjoy a weekend or sabbath of rest or a much-needed vacation, we could not enjoy resting indefinitely. Oh, you might think, If only I did not need to go to work Monday morning! Or, If only I had as many weeks of vacation as I could wish! All well and good for a few days or weeks, but before long you would simply long to do something useful.
We cannot escape it. We need the joy and satisfaction that come from doing good and useful work. In this we are but imaging our Creator, for his Word tells us that, upon the completion of creation: “God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.” True, not everyone can have the work he would most like to do. It may be that such work is not in demand, or does not pay sufficiently; or one may not have the necessary qualifications, such as the second violinist who would like to be conducting the orchestra.—Gen. 1:31.
But each one can take an interest, and should, in the work he finds it necessary to do to earn a livelihood for himself and those dependent upon him. Most important is that your work be honest and need doing. View it as presenting a challenge to you to keep doing ever better work or to do it ever more efficiently, and that whether you are a professional man or a laborer, an office worker or a housekeeper. Experience the joy and satisfaction that come from doing a good job, be it typing a business letter or repairing a piece of machinery, cooking a meal or cleaning rooms.
Because so many fail to appreciate the blessing that work can bring when viewed in this manner, today more and more the emphasis is solely on the wages or salary received, the fringe benefits and the limited hours. This does not make for happiness but, rather, is self-defeating. How so? Because the more they get the more they want, as can be seen from the ever higher demands of many unions; and the fewer hours spent the fewer they want to work, as can be seen from the current agitation in the United States Congress for a thirty-two-hour week.
The truth of the foregoing is borne out by many persons engaged in creative work, such as artists and writers. It is also proved true by many professional persons, such as educators and general practitioners, who could turn to some other activity for more pay but who remain in their profession because of the rewards that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
Serving to highlight this principle is the policy of the publishers of one of the leading magazines in the United States. According to a former staff writer, it is against their policy to discharge a writer once they have hired him. Instead, if his work is not good enough, they put him to work on some mammoth project that they never intend to use, and eventually the writer quits out of sheer frustration and feeling of uselessness. Just receiving the pay check was not enough; the writer also needed the inner sense of satisfaction of producing something worth while.
But nowhere is it more true that work is a blessing than in the work of the man of God, the Christian ministry, for does not the principle also apply here that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving”? Surely! And as Jesus also said: “My food is for me to do the work of him that sent me.” While many observers shrink from the thought of going from house to house or standing on street corners preaching the good news of God’s kingdom, those who wholeheartedly engage in it find a blessing in it that cannot be compared with anything else.—Acts 20:35; John 4:34.
So, since work needs to be done and you need to work to supply your needs as well as for your own well-being, take an interest in your work, get joy and satisfaction out of doing good work. Then you will agree that work is a blessing, even as the Creator arranged for it to be!