Work is a Good Thing

Labor Day is an interesting American Holiday. I hope that you had a good one! For most people, it is a day off from work in honor of work. Most folks want a day off and yet sometimes they don’t appreciate the opportunity and blessings that come from work. Work is a good thing. Some people believe that work was the curse that came from sin, but when you look at it more closely it was the burdens, trials and sweat of the brow that came from our sin. In the Garden of Eden, before sin ever entered the hearts of Adam and Eve God had placed them in that beautiful paradise garden and told them to take care of it, to dress it and to manage it. They were given the wonderful privilege of work.

If for a moment you think that work is not a blessing, seek out someone who has no job and wants to work. Nothing would please them more than to put their skills to work in order to accomplish a task or to build something whether it is a house, a car or a file at the office. The monetary gain that may come from work is good. The sense of accomplishment and even self-worth is vitally important. Work is a good thing.

For some years, I have been fascinated with watching the story of Arthur Winston unfold. Mr. Winston retired in March of 2006 from the Los Angeles area transit system. He retired one day before his one hundredth birthday. For 72 years he had worked for the city of Los Angeles and finally decided to work no longer. In 72 years he never missed a day because of illness. Can you imagine? In 72 years he only took one day off other than his vacation and that one day was the day of his wife’s funeral.

Arthur Winston loved his job. If you ever saw him interviewed or listened to him talk, you realized that he not only loved his work, he loved life. His work was important to him. His work blessed him, his family and the community in which he lived. When Bill Clinton was president he proclaimed Arthur Winston as the Worker of the Century. You can understand why because for Mr. Winston, work was a good thing. In an interview with Mr. Winston some years ago, they asked him about his philosophy of life. He told the interviewer three things.

One, he never went to the doctor. With a twinkle in his eye and a chuckle in his voice he said, “If you go to the doctor, they are going to find something wrong with you.” He went on to say, “Sitting right here talking to you there is probably something wrong with me and maybe there is something wrong with you. I would just as soon not know it.”

Now I would not advise anyone not to seek medical attention for the needs they may have, I would point out that there seems to be something commendable about people who do not give into tendencies toward being hypochondriacs because of the slightest twinge, pain or problem. I am not recommending that you cancel your doctor’s appointment, but I am suggesting that we probably would be better off not checking into the intensive care unit because we have the sniffles. I grew up in a family that just didn’t visit the doctor any way. If by chance one of us got up and did not feel well or maybe did not want to go to school or go to church, we were usually cured by the threat that we would have to go to the doctor.

The second piece of philosophy from Mr. Winston was that he did not use credit cards. “Use cash,” he said. To our over indulged and credit card hungry society, Mr. Winston must have appeared to be a dinosaur. At the same time most of the people who are reading this would have to acknowledge how much better every one would be without credit card debt.

The third piece of wisdom was the fact that he never smoked or drank. How much better off would all of us be in our society if there were no polluted air, or polluted bodies and minds? This week as we have celebrated Labor Day, it is a good opportunity just to pause and thank God for the work we can do. It is good to recognize that it is a great blessing to be able to work. It is a joy to have a job and even more delightful when that job is rewarding and fulfilling. It is also a great time to look around and see other people working and providing good things and pleasant services that are blessing our lives. Express your appreciation to them and thank God for their work.

Finally, I hope that you remember and recognize the wonderful truth that God has a plan for your life and a work for you to do. Finding God’s purpose and living out your service to Him is the source of life’s greatest joy. And above all of that, work is a good thing!

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer