by Anniel 2/3/15
The Reverend William Spooner, called upon to speak to a group of English agricultural students, meant to address them as “Noble Sons of Toil”, but he opened his mouth and began, “Dear Noble Tons of Soil.” One of these groups is really ignoble, but we do have both groups around today.
Work is a word used often when studying God. Both He and His son Jesus speak often of their “work.” Believers are also expected to put their shoulder to the plow and follow in the footsteps of the Lord.
In the beginning God said to Adam:
. . . 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 thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:17-19. KJV
At the very beginning of time God gave blessings to man, the sabbath for rest, and marriage for companionship and procreation. Adam and Eve were also given work to do before the Fall, that is, to dress and keep the Garden of Eden. Then, after the Fall, God gave what appears to be a cursing, but He says He did it for our sake. Digging in the soil, tilling the fields, keeping sheep as Abel did, all of it work done with the sweat of our face. In sorrow do we work. But does work, even the kind that makes us sweat, really lead to sorrow?
One hot summer day when I was about 7, after my two brothers and I had completed our regular chores, Daddy came to us and said the three of us, one brother 3 years older than I, the other a couple of years younger, were to weed the potato patch together. He took us over and pointed out that he had placed a stake at each end of the patch with a string running down the middle. I was given half of the patch to weed by myself, while my two brothers, together, had the other half.
Talk about the sorrow of work on my part, you can only imagine. I never cry except when I am angry, and the more angry I am, the more I cry. That the potatoes survived the salt from my tears is a minor miracle. I put my head down, gritted my teeth, and pulled every weed in sight. When we happened to meet in the middle by the string, my brothers gleefully taunted me and called me a crybaby. I was so angry at my father I pulled each weed as though it was his hair (which he was already losing). I whispered threats as I wept and wiped snot and tears from my nose and eyes with my dirty hands. My face and dress were wet and filthy when I finally finished weeding.
My brothers, of course, were done long before me and had run off to play. Dad saw that I had finished and came to stand by me for a few moments before calling the boys over. I stubbornly kept my eyes down so he wouldn’t see my muddy, tear streaked face and how hurt I was. Then he said, “Look up at what you did.” Reluctantly I raised my eyes. I saw then that my side of the string had not one weed left and the hills were all upright and shaped. The side the boys had done was still green with clumps of weeds and the hills were unkempt.
Then my father did something remarkable for him. He reached into his pocket and, in the presence of my brothers, pulled out a silver dollar and handed it to me. I had never had that much money in my hand before and stood there astounded as he told the boys their work was not worth a single cent. Oh, were they mad, not at themselves, but at me. They did not understand their own actions of that day. All children need to be taught the dignity and joy of work, but my brothers were incapable at that point of such understanding, besides which they were probably humiliated.
The Lord, in His goodness established work as a standard for man, for him to perform all his days until he returns to the dust from which his earthly body is made. Parents and grandparents should take time to encourage work that can teach, enrich and uplift a life forever. And children should not be deprived of the right to help their families and gain strength from their efforts.
We all choose our own attitudes. Do we want to be Reverend Spooner’s Noble Sons of Toil, accepting a great gift from God, or join the ranks of the ignoble Tons of Soil collected together in slothfulness? • (1053 views)