Labor Day Theology

September 6, 2015

I suppose there are few holidays less “spiritual” than Labor Day. If you, like me, know little about the history of Labor Day, here is information from the US Dept. of Labor (http://usgovinfo.about.com/bllabor.htm).

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. In l884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in l885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.

Although this history is very man centered, I am convinced that all work is indeed spiritual activity. I am often reminded that in His creation of mankind, God gave Adam work to do. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:12) This work was not a curse, nor a punishment, but a blessing and an opportunity to co-labor with God. God creates, mankind cares for His creation. In fact, this principle can still guide our actions and plans.

This is not just an Old Testament insight. Colossians 3:22-24 says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

The Bible tells us that believers should do their work directly for the Lord. HE is the one who will reward us in the end. Whatever my job; be it chosen, forced, paid, or volunteer it can be done so that the Lord Jesus is honored by my work.

I think we need a revival of sorts in our jobs – whatever our job may be. We must ask the question, “When Jesus looks into my heart as I do my job, does He see an offering to Him, or toil grudging given to my earthly boss?”

All of our labor, from the Bible’s point of view, is holy, sacred and an offering fit for the King of the Universe! Now that is worth celebrating on Labor Day!

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