Work from the begining
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15
From the very creation of man, God has ordained that man work. He molded us from clay, breathed into us the breath of life, and said go tend the garden. Adam was a gardener, a farmer. Not easy work. Sure, he was placed in paradise, in nature, but we had to earn our keep there.
Hopefully, I can take two approaches to this subject, one biblically, and one societally.
The bible is filled with example after example of commands for men to work. Which seems to be at odds with the leading social narrative applied to us today. A prime example of the bible going against that taught norm is found, of course, in proverbs.
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
Is this saying that we should continuously work without a break? Absolutely not. God himself gave us a Sabbath day to rest. The bible says for 6 days shall you work and labor and on the 7th, ye shall rest. But the message is clear that we should be working a whole lot more than not. Remember, even God took a rest.
Rest not laziness
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The first problem we seemed to be faced with is this mentality of entitlement that seems to have taken hold of our society—this sudden expectation of something for nothing. People are waiting for a handout.
Now, I’m not going to lie. I have had to get assistance before. There’s nothing wrong with a helping hand when you are working hard to get back on your feet, but it feels as if we have lost the knowledge that hard work brings nothing but a reward. The bible reminds us:
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
You are the example
Then comes one thing that I think is the most crucial point in this topic. We men are an example to those around us, especially our children. Maybe you don’t have kids; maybe it’s a niece or nephew who looks up to you; either way, we set an example for the next generation.
The ones coming behind us will imitate us. They will learn their behavior from ours. They will develop their personalities modeled after ours. Their beliefs, their morals, their values, this come from the generation before.
The Baby Boomers went through a cultural revolution. The stark contrast between the 1950s and 1960s is huge. The revolution continued as they aged and began passing on these thoughts and beliefs to their children.
When time collides
I am the profit of two opposite ends of the spectrum. My mother was born in 1960, but I have no idea if she had been born 10 years earlier, she would have been a peace and love hippie. She always maintained a mentality all throughout her life of personal freedom in all things.
Self-expression was encouraged, and by 15, I was doing many things a 15-year-old had no business doing. I had my first drink at 15, sitting with my stepdad and my mom. The mentality is that they could not stop me from doing it. So, they would rather I did it at home with them.
My dad, who was born in the ’50s, went the other route. My grandfather was a traditionalist and a conservative. Heavy-handed in discipline and a man that worked himself to the bone to provide for his family.
My dad kept this with him throughout his life and still does. He is retiring next May when he turns 63 years old. After telling me that he was retiring, the following sentence was, does the church need a maintenance man?
Maintenance has been his bread and butter for almost 30 years. Straight from one work to another. I am glad to know that my dad will not retire, and then go sit on his porch and wait to die as many old men do. Work keeps the mind young and the body going.
Showing the way
My father has always worked hard manual labor as long as I can remember. My grandfather did, as well. My grandpa was a welder before becoming a foreman. It is something that I have carried with me in my life so far. And although I have given up the manual labor for a keyboard, the work ethic remains none the less.
It is something that I teach to my children. My 17-year-old son works a 40+ hour a week job making 11.45 per hour, not great money, but also not bad for 17-years-old.
He has seen me work hard day after day, year after year, sometimes struggling, sometimes doing well, but he has never seen me give up, and I don’t suspect that he will ever give up either.
The bible tells us that as long as we work hard, teach others to work hard, that no one can ever have evil to speak of us. Yes, there are haters, and they will talk about evil still, but they have nothing to back that up.
Titus 2: 7-8
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
I am going to leave you with one last thought. The bible says that if we do not work, we are not entitled to anything. That we are owed nothing, and that if we do not provide for our families, we are heathens, that is to say, were no Christian at all.
I would go so far as to say that you are no man at all. Take that as you will. I know men that are wheelchair-bound, missing limbs, legally disabled, making a living, and providing behind a keyboard. Where there is a will, there is a way. You have no excuse.
1 Timothy 5:8
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
2 Thessalonians 3:10
In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.”
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