Believe it or not, Labor Day is upon us!
It’s really more than a federal holiday. It’s more than a chance to celebrate the many social and economic contributions of American workers. And it’s more than a day at the lake. For those of us who follow Christ, Labor Day is an opportunity to think about our work – whatever that work is – as a high and noble calling of Almighty God.
You and I are part of a holy stewardship over the good creation of God which goes all the way back to Genesis 1:26. Though our work carries with it aspects which feel at times more like burdens than blessings, if you really think about it, we are immeasurably blessed simply to be able to work.
Sometimes on our jobs, we let normal frustrations get the best of us. This is a Biblical reality since our mandate to “toil” the earth was part of the fallout from our expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In other words, when we sinned and fell in Adam – and as guilty rebels incurred the curse of a holy God – something about our work fell with us. Labor, like everything else about our world, became marred by sin. In our present experience, our work is fallen and imperfect.
So work is not always fun and pleasure – we all understand that – but you and I can never lose sight of the bigger picture! Whatever our vocation or field of endeavor, it is GOD who makes possible both our creativity and our productivity. In that sense all our work is sacred. There is nothing “secular” about any job accomplished by a child of God. Just as you and I respect the sacredness of God’s work when He created the heavens and the earth, so we must value the inherent dignity which our Creator has infused into all work. Whatever we do, we do for God’s glory (First Corinthians 10:31).
What ought to be even more delight for us is the significance of what Christ has done so that you and I can rest even while we’re still working. Let that sink in. And I’m talking about more than a weekly day of rest, though “Sabbath” certainly points to Christ. What I mean is simply this: in the ultimate sense, when Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He meant it. Christ had perfectly obeyed the Father for us. Christ had perfectly become the sacrificial substitute for us. Christ had perfectly accomplished perfect righteousness for us.
So, though you and I do our work with passion before God’s own eyes, we never work to earn His approval. We never have to labor to earn His love. You see, my friends, performance-based religion has been crucified – and the god of legalism has been exposed as a false god.
On this side of the Cross, all our labors can be labors of love. Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Enjoy!