“Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15).
Work is a gift to us. Without it we suffer all sorts of problems: boredom, apathy, sluggishness, depression and uselessness. The two-word phrase “deep sleep” literally means a trance. The word trance means vacancy and confusion. This state of mind produces a distracted, useless, and selfish adult. When we are vacant and confused, we will go with whatever suits our fancy. We are wide open for the devil to fill us.
Teaching our children to work and to value it is to teach them to value themselves. Work is not necessarily a job where one receives a paycheck. Work is learning productivity. Our children can learn to work for work itself.
When my children were young and were physically capable, they learned to serve alongside us at home and in ministry. Teaching a toddler to pick up toys, a preschooler to sort the laundry, an elementary child to clear the kitchen table, do the dishes, vacuüm, mop, clean the bathrooms, etc. – all teaches them responsibility. It also teaches them to feel confident and good about themselves. Having them serve in ministry teaches them that others are more important than themselves. Work and ministry develops the mind of Christ in our children’s character.
This lesson of work not only gives them value and purpose; it fights the flesh’s natural desire to be lazy, aimless, flesh seeking and sinful. To be “idle” is to be deceitful, cunning, and dishonest – all deeds of the flesh. Use work and ministry to fight the tendencies toward sin in your children.
I send caution in this area: work does not mean slave labor nor does it mean to neglect rest. This does not mean that parents should skirt their own responsibilities by passing them off to their children. Notice I said that our children worked alongside us. Work is good, working together produces a close bond between parent and child. Just like we eat together, talk with each other, rest together, vacation with one another and serve one another, we need to work together, too.