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It is a part of the divine purpose that we should work to earn our living, excluding those of course who for valid reasons are unable to do so. Even in the perfect environment of the garden of Eden, Adam had duties to perform. He had to keep the garden and also exercise dominion over the creatures, but it did not prove to be an onerous task as he enjoyed perfect physical strength. It was only after the Fall (Adam's disobedience of God's commandment) that work became toilsome(9). Nature too was affected and his living had to be earned by the sweat of his brow.

The subject of work is taken up again when God gave the commandments to Moses. The fourth commandment stipulated Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work, and on the seventh you shall rest(10). When Jesus was on earth He engaged in manual labour for the greater part of His life. He became a carpenter, and by so doing dignified labour. He also preached that a fair day's work should be remunerated with a fair day's wage, or, as He put it the labourer is worthy of his hire(11). Any worker or group of workers therefore that negotiate for proper wages have none other than the Founder of the Christian Faith on their side!

Scripture however goes further than viewing work and its reward as ends in themselves. The worker is reminded that he has two masters, one earthly and one heavenly. This lifts the work ethic when it states, Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to man, because you serve the Lord Christ(12). This command will do two things, a) it will ensure honest and good workmanship, and b) it will entail that the work is done for the good of the community, avoiding any products or substances that would be detrimental to health, safety and welfare of others.

There is also a word for the spongers and work-shy. St Paul was quite a disciplinarian and had no time for the spongers and work-shy. He hits out at them in his letter to the people at Thessalonica. If a man would not work, neither should he eat(13) The book of Proverbs also challenges the indolent to go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise(14).

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