By the sweat of the brow


I’ve been thinking about work lately. Why is it that I can’t just enjoy my labors for a while? I do dishes and the sink is full, laundry is never done, weeds grow back within the week, just prepared one meal and it’s time to work on the next.

What does Father want me to learn through the monotony?

I asked a friend that, and she said, “Well, He had to keep us busy with something down here, otherwise we’ll get into trouble.” 🙂

I would spend my days creating if I could … writing, crafting, projects, etc. It’s work, but not the monotonous kind.

I just finished watching an episode of Hoarders a show on A&E in which a woman’s house was cleaned out.  She hadn’t thrown away anything in ten years.  As the workers cleared away the piles of rotting trash with shovels, she sat on her porch, never lifting a finger (except to look through the pile and pick out a few “treasures”).  Now, I understand that hoarding is a mental illness, and I am not putting down anyone with this problem.  I was just shocked that she sat, while others did her work.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a talk in General Conference, fall 2010 entitled, Reflections of a Consecrated Life in which he talked about the importance of work.  He said:

A consecrated life is a life of labor. Beginning early in His life, Jesus was about His Father’s business (see Luke 2:48–49). God Himself is glorified by His work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39). We naturally desire to participate with Him in His work, and in so doing, we ought to recognize that all honest work is the work of God. In the words of Thomas Carlyle: “All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but true hand-labour, there is something of divineness. Labour, wide as the Earth, has its summit in Heaven.” 3

God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion. I recall the Prophet Joseph Smith’s simple statement: “By continuous labor [we] were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance” (Joseph Smith—History 1:55). By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires.

I guess that answers my question! What do I learn learn through work?

  • To sustain and enrich life,
  • helps us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience
  • brings a sense of self-worth
  • builds and refines character,
  • creates beauty,
  • and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God.

2 thoughts on “By the sweat of the brow

  1. I find that the more I think about the over-all picture — the end result of the monotonous things that pile up and never quit — the more I’m grateful for the privilege I have of taking care of my man and sweet babies. They need me. They need me to nurture them. I’m lucky that I’m the one who gets to do it. The harder I work, the better it is. The more I forget myself and get to work, the more my love for others grows.

  2. I’m just happy I don’t have to go to Jospeh’s work. I would go crazy there with all of their rules and govt regulations. I’m just happy to do dishes. 🙂

    But, I do think there is a lesson to be learned in the monotony…line upon line. There are some things that just have to be done and that are a process of sorts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s