The Joy of the Working

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Bolton Hall

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The Joy of the Working

By Bolton Hall

I thought that I was a husbandman whom God sent into a dreary world. I toiled breaking up the hard earth and clearing off the ground, but the more I worked, the rougher looked my plot; for where the briers were cut away, stones showed through the sand. I was tired, and when I saw God I said to him that the vines went astray faster than I could straighten them, and that where I planted my grapes, wild grapes grew up instead. God said to me that there was strength in the wild grapes, and I said, "Aye, Lord, but look at the stones." God said, "Do not I need the stones?"

But when I saw that God watched me as I worked, I said, "The toil is hard, but I shall see the fruit." God turned away, saying, "You shall not see the fruit." I cried after him, "But there will be fruit, O Lord?" and God said, "Of all your labor there shall be no fruit."

I said, complaining, "Lord, it were so much better to find wild flowers, that might be trained to be more beautiful; but there are always thorns for me to cut." And God said, " If there were not thorns, I had, here, no need of such an husbandman as thou."

I went on working, for then I knew that I labored in the Garden of the Lord that was to be.



  • Bolton Hall, “The Joy of the Working,” The Outlook 58, no. 2 (January 8, 1898): 127.