Yesterday we celebrated an odd holiday. I imagine many people don’t know what we celebrate on Labor Day, but the fact that we get a day off from work is reason enough. It isn’t like other holidays as far ascommercialization goes. Department stores don’t decorate with work-like objects, nor are there any catchy tunes written about Labor Day, but the whole country observes it so there must be something to it. The U.S. Department of Labor says the reason we observe this day is to celebrate the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Work is a good thing, but a lot of people hate it. Even if you love your job, a day spent relaxing at your favorite vacation spot will always be more appealing than a day at the office. Work is usually hard and demanding, but it’s something God created and it’s something we are supposed to do. Maybe you only see this day as the end of summer and an opportunity to get in one last vacation before it gets cold, but I want to suggest we take some time today to consider why work is significant.
Genesis 1:1-15. The Bible begins with God busy at work creating the universe. He shows us an example of working hard and being productive, and he passes that along to Adam and the rest of humanity. He put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it, and he made Eve to be Adam’s helper. From what we can tell, work wasn’t supposed to “make us sweat”, but when Adam and Eve disobeyed God he cursed them and made work difficult. Regardless, they had to carry on and work. When we work, we are following God’s example and doing what he designed us to do.
Work = Food
God always provides for his children, but that doesn’t mean he will serve up a beautiful rib eye to us while we sit on our bottoms all day. There is a welfare system in place for necessary times, but as Christians it is not ok for us to be lazy and expect our needs to be taken care of. In the Bible we learn that the poor had their needs met by gathering leftover crops, which God commanded farmers to leave behind (Leviticus 19:10; 23:22). Paul’s instructions to a church included this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). So if you have a job, then be thankful. Even if it is not something you enjoy waking up for every day, there is something to be thankful for.
Work Is Good
Work should be celebrated. In addition to celebrating the work of people throughout history, celebrate your work. When God completed his work of creation he saw that he had done a good job, he took pleasure in that, and he rested. Find joy in the fact that you are honoring God when you work, and take time to rest.
Finally, and more importantly, celebrate the work of God. From creation to the cross, God is at work for his glory and our good. Spend some time this Labor Day celebrating and praising God for his accomplishments in your life.
Rev. Scott Johnson
Middle School Minister