Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: … pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness. Ezekiel 16:49.
God gave labor to humanity as a blessing, to occupy our minds, to strengthen our bodies, and to develop our faculties. Adam and Eve labored in the Garden of Eden, and they found in mental and physical activity the highest pleasures of their holy existence. When they were driven from that beautiful home as the result of disobedience and were forced to struggle with a stubborn soil to gain their daily bread, that very labor was a relief to their sorrowing souls, a safeguard against temptation.
Judicious labor is indispensable both to the happiness and the prosperity of our race. It makes the feeble strong, the timid brave, the poor rich, and the wretched happy. Our varied trusts are proportioned to our various abilities, and God expects corresponding returns for the talents He has given to His servants. It is not the greatness of the talents possessed that determines the reward, but the manner in which they are used—the degree of faithfulness with which the duties of life are performed, be they great or small.
Idleness is one of the greatest curses that can fall upon us, for vice and crime follow in its train. Satan lies in ambush, ready to surprise and destroy those who are unguarded, whose leisure gives him opportunity to insinuate himself into their favor under some attractive disguise. He is never more successful than when he comes to men and women in their idle hours….
The rich often consider themselves entitled to the preeminence among their fellow human beings and in the favor of God. Many feel above honest labor and look down with contempt upon their poorer neighbors. The children of the wealthy are taught that to be gentlemen and ladies they must dress fashionably, avoid all useful labor, and shun the society of the working classes….
Such ideas are wholly at variance with the divine purpose in the creation of mankind….
The Son of God honored labor. Though He was the Majesty of heaven, He chose His earthly home among the poor and lowly, and worked for His daily bread in the humble carpenter shop of Joseph…. The path of the Christian laborer may be hard and narrow, but it is honored by the footprints of the Redeemer, and they are safe who follow in that sacred way.—Signs of the Times, May 4, 1882.