Quotes on Work

See also: Moses 5:1  


I share this counsel from President Ezra Taft Benson:  “If we want to keep the Spirit, we must work.  There is no greater exhilaration or satisfaction than to know, after a hard day of work, that we have done our best. . . . Ours is a gospel of work – purposeful, unselfish and rendered in the spirit of the true love of Christ.”  (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City:  Bookcraft, 1988, pp. 483-84.) — Elder George I. Cannon, Ensign, November 1991, p. 14

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.”  (D&C 42:42)

Too many people in our country today are developing the attitude that government is obligated to care and provide for them.  In many ways, government has fostered this attitude, but the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know better. . . .

The love of work is an attitude that members of the Church must develop.  In some ways, we have gone through a period of great prosperity which may, when history is written, prove to be as devastating as the Great Depression in its effect upon the attitudes of the people. . . .

The love of work needs to be reenthroned in our lives.  Every family should have a plan for work that touches the lives of each family member so that this eternal principle will be ingrained in their lives. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 1981

Wherefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever.  Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think as we lay stone that a time will come when those stones will be held sacred, because our hands have touched them; and men will say, as they look upon the labour and wrought substances of them:  See this our fathers did for us.  — English essayist, John Ruskin (1819-1900); quoted by President Thomas S. Monson at the groundbreaking of the Palmyra Temple, May 25, 1999; Church News, 5/29/99

Work may not be an economic necessity, but it is a spiritual necessity. — Anonymous

Know that whether one is a neurosurgeon, forest ranger, mechanic, farmer or teacher, etc., is a matter of preference, not of principle.  While those career choices are clearly very important, these do not mark your real career path.  Instead, brethren, you are sojourning sons of God who have been invited to take the path that leads home.  There, morticians will not be the only occupation to become obsolete.  But the capacity to work and work wisely will never be obsolete, and neither will be the ability to learn. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Priesthood Session, General Conference, April 4, 1998

Energetic, purposeful work leads to vigorous health, praiseworthy achievement, a clear conscience, and refreshing sleep.  Work has always been a boon to man.  May you have a wholesome respect for labor whether with head, heart, or hand.  May you ever enjoy the satisfaction of honest toil.  (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 481.) — Ronald O. Barney, “No Toil Nor Labor Fear,” Ensign, February 1997, p. 37

There’s nothing so boring as loafing because you can’t stop and rest. — Elder W. Eugene Hansen, General Conference, April 5, 1998

There is a spirit growing in the world today to avoid giving service, an unwillingness to give value received, to try to see how little we can do and how much we can get for doing it.  This is all wrong.  Our spirit and aim should be to do all we possibly can, in a given length of time, for the benefit of those who employ us and for the benefit of those with whom we are associated.

The other spirit – to get all we can, and give as little as possible in return – is contrary to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Heber J. Grant, p. 114

Is it possible that our members are becoming part of a conspiracy for mediocrity by being content with their present knowledge and skills?  Pride of workmanship has always been the heart of a competitive free-enterprise system.  There are too many tradesmen who will not pay the price to become craftsmen, teachers who do not teach, repairmen who do not repair, farmers who do not farm, leaders who do not lead, and problem solvers in every field who do not solve problems.

Our labor should be honest labor and quality labor.  The only honorable way for each of us to share in the world’s wealth is to exchange our own goods and services for those produced by someone else.  The Saints would be in demand everywhere and could command premium compensation if we would accept the challenge to set a Mormon standard of quality, unique because of its excellence.  This is part of our religion.

Let me repeat what has been taught from the beginning. Adam learned, as part of his first lesson by the Lord on economics, that the earth was to be subdued and dominion gained by sweat, by brain and brawn.  The divine law of work shall never be repealed – for God established it.  He has cursed idleness and commanded parents in Zion to teach their children to work.  There is a high price for excellence, but the compensation and soul satisfaction are truly worth it.  To work below our capabilities creates a deep hunger in ourselves and enormous waste in society.  Our doctrine of eternal progression certainly encompasses our occupational progress.  Each of us should be on a career path which will require us to stretch to our full potential. — Elder J. Richard Clarke, “The Household of Faith,” Ensign, November 1980, pp. 83-84

It is far better to wear out than to rust out, and my experience and observation teach me that those who work, if they avoid excesses and live temperately, will outlive those who shirk. — President John R. Winder, “Reminiscences by the First Presidency, December 21, 1901; President Joseph F. Smith, President John R. Winder, Pres. Anthon H. Lund; Deseret News, December 21, 1901, p. 57

The secret at this age [Pres. Hinckley was celebrating his 95th birthday] is to keep busy.  Work, work, work is the best antidote for loneliness, incapacity or any other thing that happens to impede your progress.  That’s the only antidote I know.  It’s work that’s saved me and has been an offset to the sorrow and loneliness I felt. [His wife, Marjory, passed away about a year ago.] — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “World Tour for LDS Leader,” Deseret News, June 21, 2005, p. A7

When all is said and done, you get up each morning, and if you have the strength to get out of bed, you go to work and keep living. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “An optimist at 95,” Church News, June 25, 2005, p. 3

“Remember the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley: “The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner” (“Our Fading Civility,” BYU commencement address, 25 Apr. 1996, 15).” — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Lessons Learned in the Journey of Life,” CES Fireside at BYU, November 7, 1999

Consider the significance of the Lord’s use of the word work.  What He is doing so lovingly and redemptively is, nevertheless, work – even for Him!  We, likewise, speak of “working out our salvation,” of the “law of the harvest,” and of the “sweat of the brow” (see Moses 5:1; [Ensign, 38] see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 4:1).  These are not idle phrases.  Instead, they underscore the importance of work.  In fact, brethren, work is always a spiritual necessity even if, for some, work is not an economic necessity. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1998, pp. 37–38

God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion.  I recall the Prophet Joseph Smith’s simple statement:  “By continuous labor [we] were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance” (Joseph Smith-History 1:55).  By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience.  Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth.  Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God.  A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign, November 2010, pp. 16-19

When I say do your best, I mean your very best.  You are capable of so much more. — President Gordon B. Hinckley

Try a little harder to be a little better. — President Gordon B. Hinckley

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. — Thomas Jefferson

I do not want to know what you will hope for.  I want to know what you will work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity.  I want your muscle.  As the wagon driver said when they came to a long, hard hill: “Them that’s going on with us, get out and push.  Them that ain’t, get out of the way.” — Robert Fulghum

For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice. — John Burroughs

I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom. — Angus Grossart

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing. — Albert Einstein 

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. —  Vince Lombardi

Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will be judged by only one thing: the result. — Vince Lombardi

The principle of work is also fundamental to spiritual ecology.  We shall come to know that work is a spiritual necessity, even if the time comes when it is not an economic necessity. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell

President Grant declared:

“I am a firm believer that work does not kill anyone. . . .

“I have never seen the day when I was not willing to do the meanest work . . . rather than be idle. . . .

“Men should have a pride in doing their full share and never want to be paid for that which they have not earned. . . .

“I assert with confidence that the law of success, here and hereafter, is to have a humble and a prayerful heart, and to work, work, WORK. . . .

“I do not ask any man or child in this Church, although I am more than eighty years of age,” he continued, “to work any more hours than I do.  I have worked more than one day from half past three in the morning until nine o’clock at night.  I do not know of anything that destroys a person’s health more quickly than not working.  It seems to me that lazy people die young while those who are ready and willing to labor and who ask the Lord day by day to help them to do more in the future than they have ever done in the past, are the people whom the Lord loves, and who live to a good old age. . . .

“I have been impressed with the fact that there is a spirit growing in the world today to avoid giving service, an unwillingness to give value received, to try to see how little we can do and how much we can get for doing it.  This is all wrong.  Our spirit and aim should be to do all we possibly can, in a given length of time, for the benefit of those who employ us and for the benefit of those with whom we are associated.

“The other spirit – to get all we can, and give as little as possible in return – is contrary to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is not right to desire something for which we do not give service or value received.  That idea is all wrong, and it is only a question of time when the sheep and the goats will be separated.”  (Gospel Standards, Improvement Era Pub., 1941, pp. 108, 109, 182-84.) — President Marion G. Romney, “Church Welfare Services’ Basic Principles,” Ensign, May 1976

Now, my brothers and sisters, the handwriting is on the wall; “the interpretation thereof [is] sure.” (Dan. 2:45.)  Both history and prophecy – and I may add, common sense – bear witness to the fact that no civilization can long endure which follows the course charted by bemused manipulators and now being implemented as government welfare programs all around the world. . . .

We shall persevere by helping people to help themselves until “the curse of idleness  [is] done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self respect [are] once more established amongst our people.” — President Marion G. Romney, “Church Welfare Services’ Basic Principles,” Ensign, May 1976

Do those things that are necessary to be done and let those alone that are not necessary, and we shall accomplish more than we do not. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:160

Everything connected with building up Zion requires actual, severe labor.  It is nonsense to talk about building up any kingdom except by labor; it requires the labor of every part of our organization, whether it be mental, physical, or spiritual, and that is the only way to build up the Kingdom of God. Discourses of Brigham Young, 291

With God, and also with those who understand the principles of life and salvation, the Priesthood, the oracles of truth and the gifts and callings of God to the children of men, there is no difference in spiritual and temporal labors – all are one.  If I am in the line of my duty, I am doing the will of God, whether I am preaching; praying, laboring with my hands for an honorable support; whether I am in the field, mechanics shop, or following mercantile business, or wherever duty calls, I am serving God as much in one place as another; and so it is with all, each in his place, turn and time. Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Brigham Young, p. 21

Now we ask you to clean up your homes and your farms.  “Man is the keeper of the land, and not its possessor.”

Broken fences should be mended or removed.  Unused barns should be repaired, roofed, painted, or removed.  Sheds and corrals should be repaired and painted, or removed.  Weedy ditch banks should be cleared.  Abandoned homes could probably be razed.  We look forward to the day when, in all of our communities, urban and rural, there would be a universal, continued movement to clean and repair and paint barns and sheds, build sidewalks, clean ditch banks, and make our properties a thing of beauty to behold. . . . Therefore, we urge each of you to dress and keep in a beautiful state the property that is in your hands. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “God Will Not Be Mocked,” Ensign, November 1974

We must recognize that excellence and quality are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and about life and about God.  If we don’t care much about these basic things, then such not caring carries over into the work we do, and our work becomes shabby and shoddy.  Real craftsmanship, regardless of the skill involved, reflects real caring, and real caring reflects our attitude about ourselves, about our fellowmen, and about life. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, February 1978