And what is the value of work? To a certain extent labor is its own reward. There are many oppressive situations where work is perverted, but work is still good. As I wrote about in my book (Amazon), God created humanity to do things, so when we act in this way, we are fulfilling our purpose in life. Thus, in Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes,
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God (Ecclesiastes 5:18,19 ESV).
In a speech that I may or may not agree with (one always has to be careful quoting politicians), Theodore Roosevelt said something that I think is profound: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Solomon would agree. I suspect that millions of people suddenly stuck in home exile would agree as well or will agree soon. Beyond missing their paycheck or worrying about one’s future income, it is a privilege to get to work—even at a less than ideal job.
Every year Facebook shows me a selfie I took a few years back while shoveling snow in my driveway. I always hated shoveling snow and I don’t take many selfies. But this was special. A few months earlier I had suffered a stroke that left me barely able to move my right side. I was wheelchair bound for weeks and had no idea how much functionality I would recover.
Now I was shoveling snow without a cane. What a privilege! I was useful again!
A lot of useful people are stuck at home. They may fear even walking outside lest they incur the wrath of someone on social media who accuses them of not taking the pandemic seriously and endangering lives. It is truly an anti-human world we live in now. I pray it is temporary. (And DO be responsible by maintaining social distance, washing your hands, and keeping them off your face!)
But I also hope we will come away with a better understanding of how blessed we are to be able to work a job. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.”