Music and the Spoken Word

“Work: The Engine of Life” - Sunday, September 4, 2016

Everything good that has ever been accomplished in human history happened because of work—usually hard work. Sometimes our most enthusiastic efforts have been focused on finding ways to make work easier. But the work never completely goes away, does it? That’s because work is the engine of life. It gives us reason to get up in the morning and satisfaction when we take our rest in the evening. In many countries, there is even a day to honor the men and women who get things done—we call it Labor Day.

It’s work that gets the grass mowed and the car washed and the hay in the barn at the end of the season. It’s work that gets contracts filled, laundry folded, disputes settled, diseases cured, and food transported from one end of the country to another. Work designs and builds highways, bridges, homes, and factories.

But even more than that, work builds people. It teaches discipline, focus, and sacrifice. Work is more than what we do; it shapes who we are. Far from being something to avoid, work is a blessing and a necessity—we are thankful we can work, and we seek work that will make our lives and our world a better place.

No one did this better than Thomas Edison. At a young age, he began tinkering with things in his basement laboratory—doing what some might call work but what he simply saw as living. He received more than 1,000 patents—the equivalent of one every two weeks throughout his working career. His inventions include the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, batteries, motion pictures, and the first viable system of centrally generating electric light, heat, and power. At his death, people and communities around the world dimmed their lights in honor of his work. Said Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

The words of a well-known hymn remind us how we should approach the blessing of work:

Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song,
We all have work; let no one shirk.
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

In William S. Pretzer, ed., Working at Inventing: Thomas A. Edison and the Menlo Park Experience, 2nd ed. (2001), 4.
“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel,” Hymns, no. 252.
September 4, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,538

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Work: The Engine of Life

Mack Wilberg

Richard Elliott

Lloyd Newell

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
German hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg

He Shall Feed His Flock
John Ness Beck

Norwegian Rustic March, from Lyric Pieces
Edvard Grieg; arr. Richard Elliott

Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz
Harold Arlen; arr. Arthur Harris

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel
Will L. Thompson; arr. Mack Wilberg

On Great Lone Hills, from Finlandia
Jean Sibelius