“Just whistle while you work…” was a song that the Seven Dwarfs sang. Watching them slave away in the mines while they whistled made it all look sorta fun. But in reality, working in mines is hard, dirty work. And whistling? It may help you pass the time, but it won’t make working in a dish room or sewer any easier. Work is hard, but it is necessary.
However, for many people in our society, “work” is one of the dirtiest four-letter words. Those that refuse to include this word in their vocabulary think that it is their right to receive their living from others. To those folks I would like to share one portion of Scripture…
“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 KJV
Even back in the days of Paul were there people who wanted to live off of the work of others. Is it any wonder that people do it today?
Incentives to be Lazy
Why should the average person work when so many government programs are there to feed him. The idea of having to work to eat is completely foreign to many. As a matter of fact, each year federal agencies place adds and run commercials calling more people to enroll in the food stamp program.
With food taken care of, what is there to worry about? Well, a person could worry about shelter, medical care, clothing, childcare, transportation, internet, cell phones, etc. Oh! News Flash! The government’s got that covered, also. For every need or want, no matter how minor, there is a government program available to anyone who refuses to use the that dirty word, work.
Work is Biblical
According to J. L. Meredith’s Second Book of Bible Lists, there are 198 different occupations listed in the Bible. That’s amazing, isn’t it? I find it hard to think of that many different jobs in a modern context. Among the jobs listed, one could have been an Apothecary (Neh. 3:8), Candlestick Maker (Ex. 25:31), Forrest Keeper (Neh. 2:8), Innkeeper (Luke 10:34), Midwife (Gen. 35:17), Scientist (Dan. 1:4), or a Tentmaker (Acts 18:3). The list goes on and on.
As a matter of fact, both God the Father and Jesus worked (John 5:17). Why is it that we hate it so much?
Work was ruined by the Fall.
Adam was put in the Garden to work, not sit around all day and enjoy nature. God put Adam “into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Up until that time work was part of the original, sinless creation. It was something that was enjoyable and meant for a purpose. It was something that was meant to bring joy and fulfillment. It was only when Adam sinned that work became the burden it is today.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:17-19 KJV
King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, realized that because of the Fall, work (from an earthly perspective) was vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:18-23). He saw that it was depressing to see that no matter what you do, you “can’t take it with you,” but have to leave it behind for someone else to flitter away. Nevertheless, he saw “[There is] nothing better for a man, [than] that he should eat and drink, and [that] he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God” (2:24).
In the Meantime
For now, even though work is not always fun, it is expected for a Christian to do all he can do to provide for his family. Paul told Timothy, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). If a man (or woman) is able to work, but relies on government assistance by choice, he is not being a good example.
Even though the job you may have may not be the best, at least it is work. God will honor it and bring glory to Himself. We must keep in mind that if we work with our whole heart, as unto God, not unto men (Col. 3:23), He will be pleased and we will be blessed.
Someday God will restore work to what it was intended to be – a pleasurable experience. Speaking of the children of Israel, He said…
“In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the LORD, and their children, too, will be blessed.” – Isaiah 65:21-23 NLT
Just remember, let us not grow weary in our work (Gal. 6:9; 2 Th. 3:13). One day all of the sorrows and pains associated with the toil of this life will be replaced (Rev. 21:4). The thing that was supposed to be a blessing will be made perfect again, and maybe, just maybe, there will be whistling in heaven.