Sunday, December 3, 2017

Work Builds Character! #JesusFollowers

Employment is the life of every soul, from the Most High down to the least of his children. Only those who are spiritually dead, or sleeping, ask for idleness. 

Man, resting in thought or feeling, is at best a useless abstraction; he becomes truly a man only when his thoughts and feelings come forth into life, and impress themselves on outward things.

If he fails to do this, the rust of idleness eats into all his powers, till he becomes a useless cumberer of the ground; the world loses, and heaven gains nothing when this mortal puts on immortality. Such a being is dead while he lives – a moral paralytic. His capacities are as seed cast upon a rock where there is no earth.

Man, created in the image and likeness of God, resembles Him most nearly when the life influent from God which fills his soul, flows forth freely as it is given, quickening with its powers all that comes within the influence of his sphere.

There is an old proverb that tells us, "Idleness is the devil's pillow," and well may it be so esteemed, for no head ever rested long upon it, but the lips of the evil spirit were at its ear, breathing falsehood and temptation. The industrious man is seldom found guilty of a crime; for he has no time to listen to the enticings of the wicked, and he is content with the enjoyments honest effort affords.

It is the vicious idler, vexed to see the fortunes of his industrious neighbor growing while he is lounging and murmuring, who robs and murders that he may get unlawful gain. 

It is the merry, thoughtless idler who, to relieve the nothingness of his days, seeks the excitement of the wine-cup and the gaming table. It is the sensual idler, whose licentious ear is open to the voice of the tempter as often as his track crosses the pathway of youth and innocence.

Not only by reason of the external, palpable rewards which labor brings is it to be considered a blessing; but every hour of patient labor, whether with the hands, or in study, or thought, brings with it its own priceless reward, in its direct effects upon the Character. 

By it the faculties are developed, the powers strengthened, and the whole being brought into a state of order; provided we do all things for the glory of God. "But," exclaims the impatient heart, wearied with the cares of daily life, "how can all this labor for the preservation and comfort of the merely mortal body, this study of things which belong merely to the material world, subserve in any way the glory of God?"

It is by these very toils, worthless and transitory as they may seem, that the Character is built up for eternity; and so to build up Character is the whole end for which the things of time were created. 

One who thinks wisely can never live a life of idleness, and where there is excessive indolence of the body there is never healthy action of the mind. A life of use is a life of holiness; and a life of idleness is a life of sin. He who performs no social use, who makes no human being happier or better, is leading a life of utter selfishness; is walking in a way that ends in spiritual death.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the King condemns those on the left hand, not because they have done that which was wrong, but because they have omitted doing that which was right.

No matter how small the duty entrusted to our performance, by performing it to the best of our abilities we are fitting ourselves to be rulers over many things –  to hear the blessed proclamation, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

(Excerpted from “The Elements of Character,” by Mary Greene Chandler Ware, 1854)

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