A Celebration of Labor – September 3, 2021

This weekend we celebrate labor. As a general rule, we don’t usually think of work as something to celebrate. With irony, we do celebrate it this weekend by not working. Yet, the holiday points to the importance of work. Our society seems to have lost any desire and priority for labor. Every business owner laments the challenge of finding employees. The average worker feels the strain of a smaller workforce. And even those who work hard work for the weekend and retirement.

As Christians, we must remember that work is a good creation of God. Work is not the result of the Fall. When we read Genesis 1 and 2, we discover that God created work in the Garden. God placed Adam in the Garden in absolute perfection. God created labor in the Garden as part of that absolute perfection. Therefore, we learn that work is not a result of sin. Genesis 3 informs us that the trials of work, the hardship of work, and the travails of work result from the Fall. From this reality, we must make two important conclusions.

First, work is an act of worship. Everything we do points to the God (or god) that we serve. Work is no different. Since God created work in the Garden, He made it as an act of worship. Our work ethic points to God. So, God has called you to your work. Just as God calls some men to the ministry, so also God calls you to your job. Martin Luther famously and rightly stated that the farmer shoveling manure and the maid milking her cow please God as much as the minister preaching and praying. Our work is also an act of worship. Your work is also evangelistic. The way you work says something about your God. Hard work, good attitudes, servant-mindedness, and faithful dedication demonstrate that God is sovereign, loving, and caring. Laziness, selfishness, and a lack of commitment indicate that God is not that great and that you are your god.

Second, this means that we should work hard and with the right attitude. We should not avoid the work to which God has called us. Instead of working for the weekend or counting the days to retirement, we should focus on pleasing God in the work to which He called us. Work hard, work well, work with integrity, and honor your authority. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might ….”

So this weekend, as you celebrate labor by not laboring, remember the labor to which God called you. Don’t see work as a burden but as an act of worship. Please God with how you work. Work as a Christian.