Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Best Prize = Hard Work


Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
-Theordore Roosevelt

The reward for slackness in our studies, an undisciplined mind, is an undisciplined mind.

Howard Stern, questioning the wisdom of Louis CK taking a year off from his show:
Stern: Aren't you afraid that the show... could lose the audience and momentum (if you take a year off).
Louis CK: I don't look after the spectacle of things, the career story... the only thing you can look after is the work. How good is the show? That's what matters to me.


The reward for faithfulness is work; the reward for more faithfulness is more work, and harder work, and more demanding work. The man who derides work gets what he wants: nothing difficult; nothing ventured, and nothing gained. On the other hand, the man who chooses hard work, who chases difficulties, and runs them down, and conquers them, gets what he wants as well: more difficulties, more labor, more hardship-- and he smiles.

Some men consider work a curse; however, work is NOT a curse; the curse is ON work -- and they are partly right, God has cursed work -- but, ironically, when it comes to work: the blessing is contained in the curse. If nothing else, hard work teaches us our own weakness; it teaches us all is not right with the world; it teachers us we need a Redeemer. Those men who will not bear the curse, will not reap the blessing.

We run from work because we are running from The Fall. We are running  from brokenness; running from reality; running from realism; running from hard things; we want to numb ourselves; forget it all.

The apostle Paul viewed his tremendous labors, and the sufferings that attended them, as a MERCY: "... Since through God's mercy we have this ministry (1 Cor. 4.1)."

Whatever may be his situation in life, labor is necessary to exercise and develop the muscular powers of his body. If he grows up in indolence, he will be weak... never possessing the vigor of a man. And whatever sphere of life he may occupy hereafter, he will never possess independence and energy of character enough to accomplish anything.
A man who does not know how to work, is not more than half a man. He is so dependent upon others, that he can accomplish nothing without help. Nor can wealth, or education, or professional knowledge, supply the deficiency. Wealth is very uncertain. “Riches take to themselves wings;” and they are especially liable to fly away from men who have been bred up in idle, do-nothing habits. And what will they do when their wealth is gone? They have never made any exertion, or depended on themselves. They have no energy of character. They have no knowledge of any useful employment. They cannot dig, and to beg they are ashamed. They either sink down, in utter discouragement, to the lowest depths of poverty, or else they resort to dishonest means of obtaining money.
I have before me a letter, written to a gentleman in Boston, from a boy in the House of Correction, who got there by trying to live without work. After telling how bad he felt to be shut up in prison, and how bitter his reflections upon his past life were, he says, “I thought that as long as I could live without work, and get my living dishonestly, I would go ahead; but my high life was soon stopped.” Here you perceive that his temptation to be dishonest arose from his dislike of work. But now, he says, he is convinced that the best way to get a living is by honest labor. And so you will find it. There is no one more exposed to temptation than the idle boy. “Satan finds some mischief still    For idle hands to do.” One who undertakes to get a living without work will be very likely to fall into dishonest practices, and get shut up in prison. Equally necessary is it for a man of learning, or a professional man, to know how to do with his own hands the most common things. If dependent on his own earnings for a support, he will not be able to hire everything done to his hand; or, if able, he will not always find anyone to do it. And as to the merchant, his life, from the very first, is a life of incessant toil and labor.
 - Harvey Newcomb, How to Be a Man; How to Be a Lady: A Book for Children, Containing Useful Hints On the Formation of Character (Kindle Locations 1306-1314). Lulu. Kindle Edition.

But he is chicken-hearted. Instead of conquering his work, he suffers his work to conquer him. He works briskly for a few minutes, and then he begins to flag. Instead of working away, with steady perseverance, he stops every minute or two, and looks at his work, and wishes it were done. But wishing is not working; and his work does not get done in this way. The more he gazes at it, the more like a mountain it appears. At length, he sits down to rest; and finally, after having suffered more from the dread of exertion than it would have cost him to do his work a dozen times, he gives it up, and goes to his father or mother, and in a desponding tone and with a sheepish look, he says, “I can’t do it!” He is a coward. He has suffered himself to be conquered by a wood-pile which he was told to saw, or by a few weeds in the garden that he was required to dig up. He will never make a man, till he gets courage enough to face his work with resolution, and to finish it with a manly perseverance. “I can’t,” never made a man.
 - Harvey Newcomb, How to Be a Man; How to Be a Lady: A Book for Children, Containing Useful Hints On the Formation of Character (Kindle Locations 1292-1293).

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