Rather Than Spend Their Days in Idleness – Alma 24:18

18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

Mormon tells us that these Lamanites were making three commitments as they buried their weapons:
  1. They would give up their own lives rather than take another person’s life. 
  2. They would give their possessions to another person rather than steal from them. 
  3. They would work hard rather than “spend their days in idleness.”

All three of these promises are variations on a theme: they were promising to spend their time and energy giving to other people instead of taking from them.
I find the last item on the list particularly striking. One of the consequences of the Fall, as God explained to Adam, was that we collectively eat bread “in the sweat of [our] face[s]” (Genesis 3:19). Therefore, when we are idle, we are in essence forcing other people to work harder to compensate for our lack of effort. An important reason to be diligent is to ensure that we are not taking advantage of the people around us, that we are at least “pulling our own weight,” and hopefully a little extra.
Today, I will make an effort to give rather than take. I will work hard in each of the organizations that I am part of, so that I can be a net contributor to the work that must be done.

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