Music and the Spoken Word

“Work Worth Doing” - Sunday, August 31, 2014

Work is what people do—and not just when they are grown. Toddlers have their work too: learning to walk and speak and use a spoon. Teenagers work at learning responsibility and at discovering and developing their talents. Adults work at applying those talents to make a difference in their families and the community. The true reward for work is not a paycheck—it is life!

Work isn’t measured nine to five any more than is it reserved for what we often call the workplace. Isn’t every place a place of work? There’s housework and homework, teamwork and paid work. We work in the garden and in our churches; we work at getting an education; we work at being kind to one another, at selflessly serving those in need. We work at getting in shape and getting past where we were yesterday. We work at making something of our lives.

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, grew up a sickly child of a wealthy New York family. In those circumstances, he could have chosen a life of laziness and ease. But he didn’t. He worked at overcoming his maladies; he became a devoted outdoorsman and tenacious athlete; he led the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill; he became a successful politician. As governor of New York he preached what he called the “doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife.” That attitude propelled him to the office of vice president and eventually president of his country. The granite face of Roosevelt carved on Mount Rushmore is a testimonial to his conviction that “far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Is that the way we feel about our work? Is it ennobling and contributing; is it worthwhile? Are we “anxiously engaged in a good cause”? Whether our good cause involves national politics or family priorities, the prize is the same: “the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

-Heidi Swinton

1. The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses (1906), 3.

2. Speech to the New York State Agricultural Association, Sept. 7, 1903,

3. Doctrine and Covenants 58:27.