You shall eat of your hands’ labor; you shall be happy and it shall be good for you. (128:2)

The key word in this verse is “labor.” Good things rarely come to us with no effort whatsoever. Sure, some people win the lottery or receive a large inheritance from a previously unknown great-uncle. But more typically, it is the people who work hard and selflessly with no expectation of reward who in the end are rewarded.

If you work hard on the things that really matter, you will see dividends.

My first job, other than babysitting, was as a busboy in a deli. I remember the satisfaction of depositing my first paycheck in the bank and the satisfaction the first time that I bought something with money that I had earned myself through hard work. I was making minimum wage and the work was hard. Over time, my salary went up slightly and I was promoted to work at the deli counter. I learned how to show up on time, follow instructions, do unpleasant jobs with a good attitude, and take initiative.

My next job was unskilled but not as messy; and each job after that relied on some specialized skills that I had gotten through educating myself. My happiness came from the satisfaction in what I had accomplished and the enjoyment of the challenge of the work.

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