Cooperating With God in Work Promotes Happiness
And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure. 1 Corinthians 4:12, NKJV.
At the creation, labor was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, and happiness. The changed condition of the earth through the curse of sin has brought a change in the conditions of labor; yet though now attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, it is still a source of happiness and development. And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God's great plan for our recovery from the Fall. All things in nature do their allotted work. Action pervades the whole creation, and in order to fulfill our mission we, too, must be active.
In our labor, we are to be workers together with God. He gives us the earth and its treasures, but we must adapt them to our use and comfort. He causes the trees to grow, but we prepare the timber and build the house. He has hidden in the earth the gold and silver, the iron and coal; but it is only through toil that we can obtain them. While God has created and constantly controls all things, He has endowed us with a power not wholly unlike His. To us have been given a degree of control over the forces of nature. As God called forth the earth in its beauty out of chaos, so we can bring order and beauty out of confusion. And though all things are now marred with evil, yet in our completed work we feel a joy akin to His when looking on the fair earth, He pronounced it "very good."
As a rule, the exercise most beneficial to the youth will be found in useful employment. Little children find both diversion and development in play, and their sports should be such as to promote not only physical but mental and spiritual growth. As they gain strength and intelligence, the best recreation will be found in some line of effort that is useful. That which trains the hand to helpfulness, and teaches the young to bear their share of life's burdens, is most effective in promoting the growth of mind and character.