WHAT do you like best, to work or to play?— Really, there is nothing wrong with playing. The Bible speaks of Jerusalem being “filled with boys and girls playing in her public squares.”
The Great Teacher enjoyed watching children at play. Before he came to earth, he said: “I came to be beside [God] as a master worker . . . being glad before him all the time.” Notice that Jesus was a worker with Jehovah in heaven. And when he was there, he said: “The things I was fond of were with the sons of men.” Yes, as we have learned before, the Great Teacher had a real interest in everyone, including young ones.
Do you think Jesus played when he was a child?— He probably did. But since he had been “a master worker” in heaven, did he also work on earth?— Well, Jesus was called “the carpenter’s son.” But he was also called “the carpenter.” What does this show?— Joseph, who raised Jesus as his son, must have taught him. So Jesus also became a carpenter.
What kind of carpenter was Jesus?— Since he was a master worker in heaven, don’t you think he became a master carpenter on earth?— Consider what hard work it was to be a carpenter at that time. Jesus probably had to go out and cut down a tree, cut the tree into pieces, carry the wood home, and then shape the wood to make it into tables, benches, and other things.
Do you think this work brought Jesus pleasure?— Would you be happy if you could make fine tables and chairs and other things for people to use?— The Bible says it is good for one to “rejoice in his works.” Work gives a kind of pleasure that you cannot get from play.
Really, work is good for both our minds and our bodies. Many children just sit and watch TV or play video games. They become overweight and weak, and they’re really not happy. And they don’t make others happy either. What do we need to do to be happy?—
We learned in Chapter 17 of this book that giving and doing things to help others bring happiness. (Acts 20:35) The Bible calls Jehovah “the happy God.” (1 Timothy 1:11) And, as we read in Proverbs, Jesus was “glad before him all the time.” Why was Jesus happy?— Well, he gave one of the reasons when he said: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.”
When Jesus was on earth, he did not work as a carpenter all his life. Jehovah God had special work for him to do on earth. Do you know what it was?— Jesus said: “I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (Luke 4:43) Sometimes when Jesus preached to people, they believed him and told others the things he had said, as the Samaritan woman you see here did.
How did Jesus feel about doing this work? Do you think that he wanted to do it?— Jesus said: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) How much do you like to eat your favorite food?— This gives you an idea of how much Jesus liked the work that God gave him to do.
God made us so that learning to work helps to make us happy. He says that His gift to man is that he should “rejoice in his hard work.” So if you learn to work when you are young, your whole life will be more enjoyable.
That does not mean that a young child can do the work of an older person, but we can all do some work. Your parents may go out to work day after day to earn money so that your family has food to eat and a home to live in. And as you should know, there is much work that needs to be done around the home to keep it neat and clean.
What work is there that you can do that will be a blessing to the whole family?— You can help set the table, wash the dishes, take out the garbage, clean your room, and pick up your toys. Perhaps you already do some of those things. That work really is a blessing to the family.
Let’s see how work like that is a blessing. Toys are to be put away after you play. Why would you say that this is important?— It helps to keep the house neat, and it can also prevent accidents. If you don’t pick up your toys, your mother may come along someday with her arms full and step on one of them. She may trip and fall and hurt herself. She may even have to go to the hospital. Wouldn’t that be terrible?— So when you put away your toys after you play, that is a blessing to all.
There is other work that children have too. For example, schoolwork. At school you learn how to read. Some children find reading to be fun, but others say it is hard. Even if it seems hard at first, you will be glad if you learn to read well. When you know how to read, there are many interesting things that you can learn. You will even be able to read for yourself God’s own book, the Bible. So when you do your schoolwork well, it is really a blessing, isn’t it?—
There are some people who try to avoid work. Maybe you know someone who does that. But since God made us to work, we need to learn how to enjoy it. How much did the Great Teacher enjoy his work?— It was like eating his favorite food. And what work was he talking about?— Telling others about Jehovah God and how they can receive everlasting life.
So here is something that can help us enjoy work. Ask yourself, ‘Why does this work need to be done?’ When you know why something is important, it is easier to do. And whether the work is big or little, do a good job. If you do, you can rejoice in the work of your hands, just as our Great Teacher did.