Work is a commandment from God. Work is also a blessing. When Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, the Lord told them that the ground would be cursed “for thy sake” (Moses 4:23). Work is basic principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a necessity for happiness.
Bishop J. Richard Clark, then Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stated: “Work is honorable. It is good therapy for most problems. It is the antidote for worry. It is the equalizer for deficiency of native endowment. Work makes it possible for the average to approach genius. What we may lack in aptitude we can make up for in performance” (“The Value of Work,” Ensign, May 1982).
Bishop Clark quoted Korsaren and the full quote is as follows: “If you are poor, work. If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, work. If you are happy, work. Idleness gives room for doubts and fears. If disappointments come, keep right on working. If sorrow overwhelms you and loved ones seem not true, work. If health is threatened, work. When faith falters and reason fails, just work. When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead, work. Work as if your life were in peril. It really is. No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully – work with faith. Work is the greatest remedy available for both mental and physical afflictions.” (The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, New York: Forbes Inc., 1968, p. 427.)
Later Bishop Clark suggested four “other elements of the work ethic which are important”: (1) “Perform high-quality work [as a] matter of integrity.” (2) “Give full, honest effort to our jobs as though we owned the enterprise.” (3) “Continue to invest in your personal development. Expand your occupational horizons by constant study.” (4) “To teach our children to work is a primary duty of parenthood…. They must learn by example that work is not drudgery, but a blessing.”
In addition, Bishop Clark said, “Fortunate is the young man or woman who has learned how to work. Wise is the parent who requires children to learn responsibility and to meet acceptable performance standards.”
The number of people living in poverty increases when the government’s standards fall short of the Lord’s standard for work. For years, the federal government gave handouts to millions of people simply because they asked for help. The welfare rolls grew longer and longer. States paid increasing amounts of their budgets to welfare recipients, and several states decided to do something about the problem.
According to The Daily Signal, “Several states have grappled with welfare reform. A few states that have incorporated work requirements have seen encouraging outcomes that should provide a blue print for greater welfare reform efforts nationwide.” The result of requiring work for welfare is that “Between March and April of this year, the number of food stamp recipients decreased by 773,134.”
The Daily Signal report continues, “The decline in food stamp rolls between March and April of this year follows the re-establishment of work requirements in a number of states. On Jan. 1, 22 states had to reinstate the federal work requirement for areas of the state or the entire state because their waivers expired. Some states did not wait [for] their waiver to end, however. Instead, they took a proactive approach to ensure that able-bodied adults were encouraged toward work.”
The states reinstating work requirements were Maine, Kansas, and Indiana. Maine “saw its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decrease by 80 percent within just a few months after re-establishing the work requirement…. Kansas has experienced similar results, seeing its caseload decline by 75 percent…. Indiana has experienced similar outcomes. Indiana reinstated work requirements in July 2015. Six months after reinstating these requirements, the state’s caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decreased by 68 percent.”
Another interesting fact reported by The Daily Signal is that “Kansans who left the food stamp rolls following the establishment of food stamp work requirements found employment within 12 months and, `their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent per year.’”
Thus we see that the Lord’s commandment to work is a blessing. Work not only increases income and raises the standard of living, but it also increases self-confidence and self-esteem. When we feel good about ourselves, we are happy. God wants His children to be happy.