Labor Day thought

Have you ever thought about Labor day other than being glad there is one last holiday to unofficially end the summer, sort of the same way that we view Memorial day as a holiday that unofficially begins summer.  Of course both holidays actually do have a stated purpose other than that, but most do not spend much time thinking about it while they are off for a camping trip or picnic someplace.  So what is the purpose of Labor day and why is it a national holiday. The Dept. of Labor states:

“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”.

This stands in contrast to the two holidays that surround it.  On the one side we celebrate our independence day based on the rights given to us by God, and on the other side we celebrate Thanksgiving Day based on the blessings we receive from God,  and in between the two we celebrate labor day a tribute to the accomplishments of man as a result of his labor, without the mention of God.  It is not that I am against Labor Day as a holiday, just that I think we need to change its focus.  Labor or the work we do in life is worth celebrating but not because of what we accomplish but how it fits into God’s purpose and plan. From the very beginning God had tasks for man to do, but soon those tasks became laborious,  not as a result of the tasks God had given man to do,  but as the result of man’s own action. As a result of man’s disobedience we toil at the work we do, all too often we find ourselves in jobs that we don’t like, feel underappreciated and unfulfilled.  It is a direct result of these feeling that gave birth to this holiday.  It was actually created after a nasty labor dispute. President Grover Clevelandsigned it into law, trying to reach out to the labor unions to try to gain their support in the upcoming election, by showing that he appreciated all they had accomplished and giving value to their work. However, it didn’t help he still failed to get re-elected. Even today a national Labor day holiday does little in helping workers feel better about their jobs, because it misses the point, a token pat on the back is not what is needed but a change of focus. We read in Ecclesiastes” that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work”  But how can we rejoice if we have lousy job with a lousy boss and lousy pay?   Colossians 3:23-24 gives the answer   “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”  As with all things we do in life including the work we do,  our focus should not be on ourselves but the Lord Jesus Christ.    The work we do is for His purpose, His Glory, and to further His kingdom.  What we do has universal and eternal ramifications and while we often have no idea what they may be, we need to stay focused on Jesus, leaving the results to Him knowing He is working out his purpose and plan.  Our rewards are not just the earthly treasures we gain but eternal ones.   The best rewards will be to hear the words as we step into eternity “well done my good and faithful servant”  So this Labor day let’s celebrate the work we do by remembering why we do it and whom we serve.

By Darrel Claussen