The Youth’s Instructor


January 31, 1901

Idleness Is Sin


Ministers and physicians should understand their own building, the body. They should learn how to use and develop their capabilities. They should see the need of learning how to use every part of the human machinery, how to give solidity to the muscles by employing them in taxing, useful labor. Young men who do not think deeply enough to take in the situation, who do not reason from cause to effect, will never succeed as physicians. The love of ease, and I may say, of physical laziness, unfits a man to be either a physician or a minister. Those who are preparing to enter the medical work or the ministry should train brain, bone, and muscle to do hard work; then they can do hard thinking. YI January 31, 1901, par. 1

For healthy young men, stern, severe exercise is strengthening to the whole system. And it is an essential preparation for the difficult work of the physician. Without such exercise the mind can not be kept in working order. It becomes inactive, unable to put forth the sharp, quick action that will give scope to its powers. Unless he changes, the youth with such a mind will never become what God designed he should be. He has established so many resting-places that his mind has become like a stagnant pool. The atmosphere surrounding him is charged with moral miasma. YI January 31, 1901, par. 2

Study the Lord's plan in regard to Adam. He was created pure, holy, and healthy; and he was given something to do. He was placed in the garden of Eden “to dress it and to keep it.” He was not to be idle. He must work. YI January 31, 1901, par. 3

God has ordained that the beings he has created shall work. Upon this their happiness depends. Healthy young men and women have no need of cricket, ball-playing, or any kind of amusement just for the gratification of self, to pass away the time. There are useful things to be done by every one of God's created intelligences. Some one needs from you something that will help him. No one in the Lord's great domain of creation was made to be a drone. Our happiness increases, and our powers develop, as we engage in useful employment. YI January 31, 1901, par. 4

Action gives power. Entire harmony pervades the universe of God. All the heavenly beings are in constant activity, and the Lord Jesus, in his life-work, has given an example for every one. He went about “doing good.” God has established the law of obedient action. Silent but ceaseless, the objects of his creation do their appointed work. The ocean is in constant motion. The springing grass, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, does its errand, clothing the field with beauty. The leaves are stirred to motion, and yet no hand is seen to touch them. The sun, moon, and stars are useful and glorious in fulfilling their mission. YI January 31, 1901, par. 5

At all times the machinery of the body continues its work. Day by day the heart throbs, doing its regular, appointed task, unceasingly forcing its crimson current to all parts of the body. Action, action, pervades the whole living machinery. And man, his mind and body created in God's own similitude, must be active in order to fill his appointed place. He is not to be idle. Idleness is sin. YI January 31, 1901, par. 6

There is true dignity in labor. Among the believers in Christ there was not one apostle who was exalted as was Paul by the revelation of the Saviour in his conversion. And Paul labored with his hands as a tent-maker. In the midst of his zeal in persecuting the Christians, Paul had been arrested by a voice and a great light from heaven. During his ministerial labors he had several visions, of which he spoke little. He saw and heard many things not lawful for a man to utter. That which was given him as a special revelation from God was not at all times dwelt upon when he spoke to the people. But the impression was ever with him, enabling him to give a correct representation of the Christian life and character. The impression made upon his mind by the revelation of Christ never lost its force. It influenced his estimation and delineation of Christian character. YI January 31, 1901, par. 7

The history of the apostle Paul is a constant testimony that manual labor can not be degrading, that it is not inconsistent with true elevation of character. Paul worked day and night to avoid being a burden to his brethren, and at times he supported his fellow workers, he himself suffering from hunger in order to relieve the necessities of others. His toil-worn hands, as he presented them before the people, bore testimony that he was not chargeable to any man for his support. They detracted nothing, he deemed, from the force of his pathetic appeals, sensible, intelligent, and eloquent beyond those of any other man who had acted a part in the Christian ministry. YI January 31, 1901, par. 8

In Acts 20:17-35 we see outlined the character of a Christian minister who faithfully performed his duty. He was an all-round minister. We do not think it is obligatory on all ministers to do in all respects as Paul did. Yet we say to all that Paul was a Christian gentleman of the highest type. His example shows that mechanical toil does not necessarily lessen the influence of any one, that working with the hands in any honorable employment should not make a man coarse and rough and discourteous. YI January 31, 1901, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White