The Necessity and the Joy of Work

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Last night Ray and I went out to eat with some friends. Though several waitresses were working, they still had to hurry back and forth between the kitchen and their tables. They were working hard.

Lately I have heard how hard it is for employers to find employees to hire. For years my brother has talked to me about his difficulty in finding people who will show up for work after he hires them and then stay on the job long term.

Because of these realities, I am especially thankful these days for scurrying waitresses — and plumbers who show up when we call them.

I recently walked into our daughter’s kitchen and found our five-year-old grandson excitedly washing dishes at the sink. The scene reminded me of this picture of me at age five.

It was fun to see our grandson enjoying his work. Work is one of the gifts that God gave to the first man. Genesis 2:15 says that God put man in the Garden of Eden and told him to tend it. Your homeschooling tasks are many. One of those tasks is to teach your children the necessity and the joy of work. Since your children see how you spend your day, they have a full-time example of someone who works very hard — when she feels like it and when she doesn’t.

I believe in children having lots of time to play, but they also have to learn that work is necessary for living in a family, living life as an adult, and living in society. Teaching children to work isn’t easy. It’s one of those tasks that takes love, gentleness, kindness, and diligence. Proverbs gives lessons on how to work, lessons you can pass down to your children.

Laziness and poverty go hand in hand. Diligence and wealth do too.

Poor is one who works with a lazy hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 10:4

We need to stay on task while completing the practical work at hand, instead of leaving that work undone while following ideas that will never lead to success.

One who works his land will have plenty of bread,
But one who pursues worthless things lacks sense.
Proverbs 12:11

We can commit everything to the Lord, including the work we need to do. We can ask Him to help us stay on task and to help our work succeed.

Commit your works to the Lord,
And your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

Incentive helps us do the work we need to do.

A worker’s appetite works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.
Proverbs 16:26

We need to think about what we are doing and perform our work well. I recently placed an order that included an unlined lace jacket and a child’s backpack. A lax worker placed both of those items in the same shipping bag. Neither had tissue to keep them separate. When I received my order, the tag of the backpack had caught on the lace and the lace already had a pull. It was a great illustration of this Proverb.

He also who is lax in his work
Is a brother to him who destroys.
Proverbs 18:9

Performing work well requires skill. Skill is the result of diligence and a willingness to be taught. Living in a house that is around 175 years old has taught us to appreciate carpenters, plumbers, house painters, electricians, water filter technicians, and others who have learned their lessons well. Last week we followed our plumber’s recommendation to have our septic tank pumped. When you need someone skilled in his work, well . . . you need someone skilled in his work. We were thankful someone knew how to do that—and was willing.

Do you see a person skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure people.
Proverbs 22:29

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