Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students


The Lessons of Contented Industry

Among the evils resulting from wealth, one of the greatest is the fashionable idea that work is degrading. The prophet Ezekiel declares: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49. Here are presented before us the terrible results of idleness, which enfeebles the mind, debases the soul, and perverts the understanding, making a curse of that which was given as a blessing. It is the working man or woman who sees something great and good in life, and who is willing to bear its responsibilities with faith and hope. CT 279.1

The essential lesson of contented industry in the necessary duties of life is yet to be learned by many of Christ's followers. It requires more grace, more stern discipline of character, to work for God in the capacity of mechanic, merchant, lawyer, or farmer, carrying the precepts of Christianity into the ordinary business of life, than to labor as an acknowledged missionary in the open field. It requires a strong spiritual nerve to bring religion into the workshop and the business office, sanctifying the details of everyday life, and ordering every transaction according to the standard of God's word. But this is what the Lord requires. CT 279.2

The apostle Paul regarded idleness as a sin. He learned the trade of tentmaking in its higher and lower branches, and during his ministry he often worked at this trade to support himself and others. Paul did not regard as lost the time thus spent. As he worked, the apostle had access to a class of people whom he could not otherwise have reached. He showed his associates that skill in the common arts is a gift from God. He taught that even in everyday toil God is to be honored. His toil-hardened hands detracted nothing from the force of his pathetic appeals as a Christian minister. CT 279.3

God designs that all shall be workers. The toiling beast of burden answers the purpose of its creation better than does the indolent man. God is a constant worker. The angels are workers; they are ministers of God to the children of men. Those who look forward to a heaven of inactivity will be disappointed, for the economy of heaven provides no place for the gratification of indolence. But to the weary and heavy-laden rest is promised. It is the faithful servant who will be welcomed from his labors to the joy of his Lord. He will lay off his armor with rejoicing, and will forget the noise of battle in the glorious rest prepared for those who conquer through the cross of Calvary. CT 280.1


On every hand parents are neglecting to instruct and train their children for useful labor. The youth are allowed to grow up in ignorance of the simple and necessary duties. Those who have been thus unfortunate must awake and take the burden of the matter upon themselves; if they ever expect to succeed in life they must find incentives to the useful employment of their God-given powers. CT 280.2