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Music and the Spoken Word: Work — the best medicine

POSTED: September 4, 2017 9:10 a.m.
Deseret Connect/

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Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast.

Most of us spend a good portion of our day working. Whether in an office, classroom or construction site; the garden, home, factory or field, work is simply a part of life. Usually we are thankful to have work, though we may be anxious to finish it as quickly as possible.

Work allows us to provide the necessities of life for ourselves and our loved ones. But have you ever thought of work as a cure for troubles and heartache?

Beloved religious leader President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work and service in behalf of others." (see “A Conversation with Single Adults,” Ensign, March 1997). “The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired" (see "To Single Adults,” Ensign, June 1989).

Because work, by definition, requires effort and exertion, we tend to see it as something that makes life harder. So how can it possibly help us through hard times? Maybe the answer lies in the fact that work gives purpose and meaning to life — especially when our work makes life better for someone in need. Such work lifts our spirits and puts our problems in perspective. A person may retire from a career, but we need never retire from serving others and seeking to improve the world.

Work is a mental, physical and spiritual necessity. We need it not only to stay alive but to live well and to grow. When a single mother of young children was asked how she made it through difficult times, she explained that mundane tasks like laundry and cooking kept her going. Whenever she felt anxious or discouraged about her life, she would find something to do, and somehow, while organizing a closet or refinishing an old piece of furniture, she discovered the strength to carry on.

So the next time you feel worried or downhearted, try some work. Your honest efforts to bless others and contribute to the world will bring the wonderful — and sometimes unexpected — blessings of work.
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