Ellen G. White Writings

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This Day With God, Page 133

The Blessing of Labor, May 4

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12.

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 labored in the garden of Eden, and he found in mental and physical activity the highest pleasures of his holy existence. When he was driven from that 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 was a relief to his sorrowing soul, a safeguard against temptation.

Judicious labor is indispensable both to the happiness and the prosperity of our 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, and God 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 are performed, be they great or small.

Idleness is one of the greatest curses 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.

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, fulness 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, in the words of Holy Writ, the terrible results of idleness. It was this that caused the ruin of the cities of the plain. Idleness enfeebles the mind, debases the soul, and perverts the understanding, turning into a curse that which was given as a blessing.—The Signs of the Times, May 4, 1882.

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