“Work is an eternal principle, essential to our salvation. It has been so ever since the world began. God said to Adam “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19). He was given dominion and instructed to work.
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires a form of work. We are taught repeatedly to ‘endure to the end’ – we would not have to endure if it was not work! However, we are given support through this spiritual work. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” (1 Corinthians 10:13). He does not expect you to “…run faster or labour more than you have strength…” (D&C 10:4) but we do need to work our hardest. This does not only apply to spiritual ‘work’ of course but also needing to apply ourselves to honest, diligent work to provide for those we love and to provide ourselves with development in this life.
Not only is work an eternal principle and a commandment, but in the long run it makes life a lot more bearable. As we lose ourselves in working, we can begin to forget our worries. For example, this is an important principle for missionaries. President Ezra Taft Benson taught “There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centred on the work of the ministry.” (PMG page 121) As we lose ourselves in work – life becomes more productive, manageable and enjoyable.
“Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility…” President Uchtdorf taught. An interesting element to this topic is that God is more able to assist the person who puts their effort into a task or a problem than one who simply asks without putting their effort forward. The Lord said “…you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right…” (D&C 9:8). Just as with the brother of Jared and Nephi – who both put their minds to tasks placed before them – we need to diligently work at our problem and then pray to the Lord to help with the rest. He will then fill the part that is required. “God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer—no matter how eloquent the oration.” President Uchtdorf taught.
The need to fill our part with work can be linked to a principle taught in Moroni’s promise – “…ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ…with real intent…” (Moroni 10:4). We need to be willing to act on the answer God gives us, and what better way to help us be more willing to follow an answer by putting effort in to finding an answer.
However, with this admonition to work, we must remember the counsel “But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.” (Jacob 2:18) If we work in our employment or career for public recognition or worldly wealth then we are working for the wrong reasons. Our main priority should be working for our family – to build and fortify the home. This is the task that as priesthood holders we are commissioned to do. President Harold B. Lee said “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf also said “Let us not devote our God-given talents and energies solely to setting earthly anchors, but rather let us spend our days growing spiritual wings.” With the work we do, let’s not focus on worldly work. Whilst we do need to work to supply provisions for our home and family, we must not forget our debt to God in service to Him and spending time with our family to build eternal relationships.
As we work we will progress, be it mentally, physically or spiritually. As work will always improve us, it is an eternal principle. “He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” (D&C 93:28) As we work, we will grow bit by bit until that perfect day.