“We find our happiness and meaning in labor rather than in escape from it.”

The Amish community

In the olden days, every spring came with soap suds and scrub brushes. The carpets must be beaten out, the cellar white-washed, the stoves blacked, silverware polished,  and floors scoured. I doubt many folks today go to that much trouble; one can “scour” the floor by merely running a Swiffer across it. Our lives are filled by much more busyness—the rush of school, sports, travel, etc.; so much so that we shortcut things like spring-cleaning that were necessities years ago.

Perhaps we over-shortcut. God meant for mankind to find worthwhile, wholesome work that strengthened the body and mind. I’m not implying that we should skip jobs and homework and look for extra chores around the house… only that modern society seems to have lost valuable work ethic.

Scripture gives excellent examples;

“Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief, officer, or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.” Proverbs 6.6-8
“She…works with her hands in delight.” Proverbs 31.13

Labor is a gift from God. As humans, we can find satisfaction in a job well done. Perhaps industriousness is not just about working busily to get things finished, but about our attitude toward the work itself. Are we doing it grumblingly? Sloppily? Belligerently? Shouldn’t we honor God by using the hands he gave us to steward the households he gave us?

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” Ecclesiastes 9.10

So there it is. To be industrious gives one a chance to manage his or her God-given responsibilities, to find satisfaction in a finished product, and to honor God with one’s attitude and effort. 

 

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