A Proper Work Ethic

If I were to assign a soundtrack to the messages of this day, it would go like this:

The world has need of willing men
Who wear the worker’s seal.
Come, help the good work move along;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

(Hymns, Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel, no. 252)

I was listening to the iPod on my way to work to, I caught up on a few “Daily Devotions” from Lutheran Hour Ministries. I especially liked this message:

“A courier was what a lawyer needed to deliver some contracts to another firm five blocks away. Necessity dictated those contracts be there before closing time, less than an hour later. Unfortunately, no couriers were available and all remaining office personnel were needed at their posts.

“That was when the lawyer remembered the man outside of the building. The scruffy-looking fellow had been there for two weeks. The card in front of him said he was hungry.

“The lawyer raced out to the man and offered him $50 to deliver the contracts. Having heard the offer, the unemployed fellow took a deep breath, stood up straight, and made his offended reply: ‘Sir, I sit here to beg, not to deliver contracts!’

“Now there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be unemployed. You may be unemployed because your job has been taken over by a machine, or because your company moved, or because you are no longer qualified to do a job, which has been redefined.

“But not wanting to be employed should never be considered to be legitimate.

“…So, what is your reaction when the Lord gives you a job to do? Would you, …like our beggar — prefer to remain in the ranks of the unemployed? Certainly, it is easier. It is more comfortable and convenient.

“But it is not God-pleasing.

“Can you imagine your future if Jesus had adopted such an attitude? What would our eternity be if Jesus had said, ‘No, thank You!’ when the Father told Him to become a Man, so He might live, suffer and die to save sinful humanity?

“Thankfully, Jesus said, ‘Yes,’ and He accomplished all that was necessary to save us. Now it is our turn to say “Yes” to God’s commands — not because we have to, not because we need to, not even because it’s the right thing to do.” (Daily Devotions, “Glad to Obey” by Pastor Ken Klaus, November 4, 2012)

That one did make me think. I am eternally grateful for the choice Jesus made to follow His Father’s will!

Then, on the way home, I listened to the general conference talk “Brethren, We Have Work to Do,” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 2012). He hit the idea from another angle that resonated with me.

“As men of the priesthood, we have an essential role to play in society, at home, and in the Church. But we must be men that women can trust, that children can trust, and that God can trust. In the Church and kingdom of God in these latter days, we cannot afford to have boys and men who are drifting. We cannot afford young men who lack self-discipline and live only to be entertained. We cannot afford young adult men who are going nowhere in life, who are not serious about forming families and making a real contribution in this world. We cannot afford husbands and fathers who fail to provide spiritual leadership in the home. We cannot afford to have those who exercise the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God, waste their strength in pornography or spend their lives in cyberspace. Brethren, we have work to do.”

I’m not perfected yet – that I can say with absolute certainty. Of all of the gifts I have been given, the gift of my time, and how I use it, is a tough one to balance and get right.

But Jesus showed us the proper “work ethic” – and I have time to repent and keep trying to improve.

Until then, I’ll sing another verse:

Then don’t stand idly looking on;
The fight with sin is real.
It will be long but must go on;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

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