The Health Reformer



September 1, 1876

Labor as a Blessing


Many look upon work as a curse, originating with the enemy of souls. This is a mistaken idea. God gave labor to man as a blessing, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop his faculties. Adam toiled in the garden of Eden, and felt it to be one of the pleasures of his holy existence to do so. Later, when he was driven from his beautiful home, as the result of his disobedience, and was forced to struggle with a stubborn soil to gain his daily bread, that very labor, although far different from his pleasant occupation in the garden, was a relief to his sorrowing soul, a protection against temptation. HR September 1, 1876, par. 1

Judicious labor is a healthful tonic for the human race. It makes the feeble strong, the timid brave, the poor rich, and the wretched happy. Our varied trusts are proportioned to our various abilities. Every man will be rewarded of God according to his individual capacity. He expects corresponding returns for the talents he has given to his servants. It is not the greatness of the talents possessed that determines the reward, but the manner in which they are used, the degree of faithfulness with which the duties of life have been performed, be they great or small. Where much is given much will be required. HR September 1, 1876, par. 2

Whoever does his work conscientiously and well, whether in the shop, the field, or the pulpit, will be rewarded according to the spirit in which he has worked. HR September 1, 1876, par. 3

Idleness is the greatest curse that can fall upon man; for vice and crime follow in its train. Satan lies in ambush, ready to surprise and destroy those who are unguarded, whose leisure gives him opportunity to insinuate himself into their favor under some attractive disguise. He is never more successful than when he comes to men in their idle hours. HR September 1, 1876, par. 4

The greatest curse following in the train of wealth is the fashionable idea that work is degrading. “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 is presented before us the terrible results of idleness, which enfeebles the mind, debases the soul, and perverts the understanding, turning into a curse that which was given as a blessing. HR September 1, 1876, par. 5

God designed that all should be workers, and upon those whose opportunities and abilities are greatest rests the heaviest responsibilities. The patient beasts of burden deserve more commendation than the indolent do-nothing who does not improve his physical and mental powers, refusing to do the tasks which God has set for his accomplishment. HR September 1, 1876, par. 6

The indolence of the many occasions the overwork of the few earnest and devoted laborers. These are failing for want of recreation, sinking beneath the double burdens they are bearing. Their graves are way-marks along the upward paths of reform. This is because they are allowed to do the work of others in addition to their own. A large class refuse to think and act for themselves; they have no disposition to step out of the old ruts of prejudice and error; they block up the way of advancement with their indolence and perversity, and force the standard-bearers of the right to more heroic efforts in their march forward. HR September 1, 1876, par. 7

The glory and joy of life is found only by the working man and woman. Labor brings its own reward, and the rest is sweet that is purchased by the fatigue of a well-spent day. But there is a self-imposed toil, utterly unsatisfying and injurious. It is that which gratifies unsanctified ambition, which seeks display or notoriety. The love of appearance or possession leads people to carry to excess what is lawful, to devote the entire strength of body and mind to that which should occupy but a small portion of their time. They bend every energy to the acquisition of wealth or honor; they make all other objects secondary to this; they toil unflinchingly for years to accomplish their purpose; yet when the goal is reached, the coveted reward secured, it turns to ashes in their grasp; it is a shadow, a delusion. They have given their lives for that which profiteth not. HR September 1, 1876, par. 8

Yet all the lawful pursuits of life may be safely followed if the spirit is kept free from selfish hopes and the contamination of deceit and envy. The business life of the Christian should be marked with the same purity that held sway in the workshop of the holy Nazarene. It is the working men and women who see something great and good in life, those who are willing to bear its responsibilities with faith and hope. HR September 1, 1876, par. 9

Patient laborers, remember they were sturdy working-men whom Christ chose from among the fishermen of Galilee and the tent-makers of Corinth, to labor with him in the work of salvation. From these humble men went forth a power that will be felt through all eternity. HR September 1, 1876, par. 10

The angels are workers; they are ministers of God to the children of men. Those slothful spirits who look forward to a Heaven of inaction will be disappointed, for the economy of the Creator prepares no such place for the gratification of sinful indolence. But to the weary and heavy-laden rest is promised. It is the faithful servants who are welcomed from their labors unto the joy of their Lord. They will joyfully lay off the armor, and forget the noise of the battle in the peace that shall be the inheritance of the saints. HR September 1, 1876, par. 11

The path of the Christian laborer may be hard and narrow, but it is honored by the foot-prints of the Redeemer, and he is safe who follows in that sacred way. HR September 1, 1876, par. 12