The Benefits of Physical Labor

Whatever you do, work at it with your whole heart.  Corinthians 3:25

It’s finally Saturday and after a long week at work, I look around and there is so much that needs to be done.  Where do I start? Laundry, housework, gardening, home improvements . . . and  the list goes on and on and on.  I have to admit that I’m not jumping up and down with excitement.  I would like to read a good book or watch a movie.  However, I have learned that all work was not created equal.

I recently watched the movie The Shack and was reminded of how beneficial and therapeutic work with your hands can be.  God gave the main character physical work to accomplish while he was working through his troubles.

When I was a child my family would visit my grandmother’s farm frequently, where we would all work together.  During the summer months especially, everyone’s help was needed to ensure fruits and vegetables were picked and prepared for freezing and canning. This included many hours of shelling butterbeans and peas, and many hours in the hot field picking.  If you have never worked on a farm, when the produce is ready you have to drop everything.  There is a short period of time that much work has to be done.  My father always planted extra, so if there was anything left after the family had finished harvesting, then we would pick vegetables and sell them to others.  This allowed us to have a vacation at the end of the summer.  During times we were watching television and enjoying each other’s company in the evening, we made Christmas gifts for family and friends.I never appreciated this lesson in life until I was much older.

My husband has a job where he works with his hands, but I have a desk job.  While I don’t sit all day, I have a different type of work with a different type of stress.  About 20 years ago my husband and I bought our house and began what has been a long list of home improvements.  Wanting to save money, we worked side by side completing many of the tasks.  When we were tiling our floor, I began to realize the benefits of hard work with your hands.  First, when the job has been completed, you can see the product and its benefits.  Second, while you are physically working, you can work through your mental and emotional problems.  Third, according to Sarah Agin in her article The Health Benefits Of Working with Your Hands, research indicates that work with our hands wards off depression (Govexe.com).  I know I usually sing when I’m working, which has the benefits of boosting immunity and releasing stress.  Fourth, neuroscientists have proven that working with your hands forges new neuron pathways in our brains (monster.com).  Finally, there are current studies underway that seem to indicate working with your hands leads to a longer life.  These benefits are the same or very similar to creating crafts by hand.

The Bible addresses laziness and the importance of hard work in many places.  King Solomon taught about laziness throughout the Book of Proverbs, but the New Testament also addresses hard work.  For me hard work is a time to be close to God.  It’s a time to thank God for all your blessings, and trust him with your troubles.  It’s a time to admire his wonderful creations.  Sometimes it’s hard to see a way out of the problems of our lives, But he is always there ready to work beside us.  So, today as you gaze upon unfinished hard work, think about the blessings you have been given.  Work side by side with your Heavenly Father.  God bless you.

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