Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

February 27, 1902

The Blessing of Labor

One of the first laws of the being is that of action. Every organ of the body has its appointed work, upon the development of which depends its strength. The normal action of all the organs gives vigor and life; inaction brings decay and death.

God placed our first parents in Paradise, surrounding them with all that was useful and lovely. In their Eden home nothing was wanting that could minister to their comfort and happiness. And to Adam was given the work of caring for the garden. The Creator knew that Adam could not be happy without employment. The beauty of the garden delighted him, but this was not enough. He must have labor to call into exercise the wonderful organs of the body. Had happiness consisted in doing nothing, man, in his state of holy innocence, would have been left unemployed. But he who created man knew what would be for his happiness; and no sooner had he created him, than he gave him his appointed work. The promise of future glory, and the decree that man must toil for his daily bread, came from the same throne.

Today thousands are sick and dying who might get well if they would; but imagination keeps them sick. Self-made invalids, they think that to work would make them worse, when work is just what they need to make them well. Without labor, they can never improve. When the body is inactive, the blood flows sluggishly, and the muscles decrease in size and strength. Rising above their aches and pains, forgetting that they have aching backs, sides, and heads, they should engage in useful employment. Physical exercise, and a free use of air and sunlight,—blessings which heaven has abundantly bestowed on all,—would give life and strength to many an emaciated invalid.

When not actively engaged in preaching, the apostle Paul labored at his trade as tent-maker. Before he accepted Christianity, he had occupied a high position, and was not dependent upon his trade for support. But among the Jews it was customary to teach children a trade, however high the position they were expected to fill, that a reverse of circumstances might not leave them incapable of sustaining themselves. In accordance with this rule, Paul learned the tent-maker's trade; and when his means had been expended in advancing the cause of God and in his own support, Paul resorted to his trade in order to gain a livelihood. Although feeble in health, he labored during the day in serving the cause of Christ, and then toiled a large part of the night, and frequently all night, that he might provide for his own and others’ necessities.

Work is a blessing, not a curse. Diligent labor keeps many, young and old, from the snares of him who “finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” Let no one be ashamed of work; for honest toil is ennobling. While the hands are engaged in the most common tasks, the mind may be filled with high and holy thoughts.

Drowsiness and indolence destroy godliness, and grieve the Spirit of God. A stagnant pool is offensive; but a pure, flowing stream spreads health and gladness over the land. No man or woman who is converted can be anything but a worker. There certainly is and ever will be employment in heaven. The redeemed will not live in a state of dreamy idleness. There remaineth a rest for the people of God,—rest which they will find in serving him to whom they owe all they have and are.

Mrs. E. G. White

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