Finding Joy in Work
Yesterday was one of those days that started early and ended late. At the end of the day, I was tired but happy. Our clothes washer had some problem and the water did not shut off when it was supposed to and over flowed. Fortunately we caught it before it flooded the basement the way it did a week ago. I started looking for used washers and for sales. Then I decided I would try to fix it. I found out what the problem was and for a few dollars was able to fix it. It was a really good feeling to know that I could repair it and not have to spend the money on a new one.
I also refereed a couple of basketball games for a high school basketball camp, then mowed the lawn and took the car in for some scheduled maintenance. This evening was spent at an activity that the married student ward I serve in held. It was a fun activity, but it was at the end of a long hard, but satisfying day.
I am grateful that I like to work. Work is not only a commandment but it is a blessing in our lives. David E. Sorensen speaking to the students at Brigham Young University had this to say about work:
“Work is an eternal principle. Whom do you know who has all the riches of the earth and more and yet is continually working? Our Heavenly Father! He is a worker. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have shown us by Their examples and teachings that work is important in heaven and on earth. Jehovah worked to create the heavens and the earth. He called the waters together in one place and caused the dry land to appear. He created the sun, the moon, and the stars. He created every living thing in the sea and on the land. Then the Father placed Adam and Eve on the earth to take care of it and to govern the other creatures. (See Genesis 1:1–28.)
“But Their work did not end with the Creation. In the Pearl of Great Price we read, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; emphasis added). This, of course, includes every man, woman, and child. Of all the things He could concern Himself with, our Heavenly Father has chosen to labor for the benefit of our eternal souls—your soul and my soul.
“Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). He also said, “I must work the works of him that sent me” (John 9:4).” (“The Blessing of Work”, David E. Sorensen, BYU Devotional, March 6, 2005)
Learning to work is an important part of our education, but learning to love work is what brings success. Teaching our children to work is one of the most important things we can do as parents. I have had many opportunities in my life to see how those that are not afraid of hard work find success and joy in their careers while those who do not understand the importance of work never seem to find joy in their lives and seldom are satisfied with their careers. Bishop Burton spoke of the importance of teaching children to work when he said:
“One of parents’ most important responsibilities is to teach their children to work. Even young children can begin to experience the benefits of working when they are involved in household chores and in service to others. Wise parents will work alongside their children, will provide frequent praise, and will make sure no task is overwhelming.
“When President Thomas S. Monson was young, his parents taught him the principle of work by their examples. His father, a printer, worked long and hard practically every day of his life. When he was home, he did not stop working in order to take a well-deserved rest. He continued to work by providing service to family and neighbors alike. 3 His mother was always working to provide some needed service to a family member or friend. President Monson’s parents often asked him to accompany them or to do some service for them, allowing him to learn firsthand about working to serve others.
“President Monson learned from his father how to work in business and began his first part-time job when he was 14, working in the printing shop that his father managed. President Monson relates that after age 14,there have not been many days in his life—other than Sundays—when he didn’t work. “When you learn to work while you’re young, the habit stays with you,” he says.” (The Blessing of Work”, Ensign, December 2009)
My daughter is the general manager of a local restaurant and it is interesting to see the difference in the people she hires. Those that have been taught to work do well and those that don’t understand the importance of work don’t last long. One young man refused to wear a hat that was part of the uniform employees where expected to wear. He was asked many times to put the hat on and one time when he was told to either go home and get his hat or he would lose his job he left and never came back. Another employee complained to a fellow worker that my daughter was always telling her what to do! I think that is what the boss is supposed to do. It was too bad that that she never understood what it meant to have a boss and the importance of doing what she was asked.
David Sorensen gave this counsel on work and improving ourselves:
“First, work hard to get along with others. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Indeed, be a light, not a judge. Studies confirm over and over that people generally do not lose their jobs because they lack the technical know-how or skills. More frequently, the difficulty is that they can’t get along with other people. I realize that you may not please all of the people all of the time, but you can please most of the people most of the time—especially if one of those people is your boss.
“Second, remember that people seldom improve when they have only their own yardstick to measure themselves by. I can assure you that I have made more improvements in my life and in my business as a result of others’ criticism than from their praise. Learn to measure yourself with someone else’s yardstick occasionally. If your boss comments that you lose your temper too easily, take it seriously. If your spouse comments that you lose your temper too easily, and your friends comment that you lose your temper too easily, it is likely that you lose your temper too easily. When you hear such feedback, listen before you deny it. Evaluate it. Weigh it. Do you think changes are in order? Regardless of criticism, learn to get along with other people. If you want to get along with them, you can.
“Third, be an optimist. Do not accept pessimism, especially when it is directed at you personally. Do not accept pessimistic statements about your Heavenly Father. Consider their source—they come from Satan. Do not accept pessimistic statements about the leaders of this Church or the Church as an institution. It takes work to reject Satan’s messages, but such work will lead to happiness.” (“The Blessing of Work”, David E. Sorensen, BYU Devotional, March 6, 2005)
Hard work is an important part of our lives and we must strive to learn all we can as we go through this mortal experience. It is a wonderful feeling to end the day with tired and sore muscles and look back on the fruits of our labors and what we accomplished throughout the day. The Lord told Adam “In the sweat of the face shalt thou eat bread all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:19). The principle of work is an eternal principle and if we learn to love our work, we will be able to find joy and happiness in our life’s work.
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