According to the “History of Labor Day” at the U.S. Department of Labor website, (and in case you are curious)…
“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.”
A quick search on Bible Gateway reveals several verses about labor. The following is a quick and easy reminder list for Christians to make sure we are looking at labor from Our Creator’s perspective.
1. WORK HARD –
Scripture reminds us to work hard, doing honest work, to provide for ourselves and to be able to share with those truly in need.
Psalm 128:2 – “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”
Ephesians 4:28 – “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
2. LABOR FOR THE LORD –
Our Father has plans for us, jobs for us to do. Just as the Israelites built the temple and walls under God’s direction, we each have building projects the Lord has for us to do. Are we also willing to work faithfully despite the opposition?
Nehemiah 4:16-17 “And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.”
As long as we have breath, our Father has a job, a purpose for us here on Earth.
Philippians 1:21-22 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.”
Our main job here on earth is spreading the gospel. We may have “day jobs” but this mission should be the focus of our lives once we come to know Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:9 “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
3. DON’T LABOR IN VAIN –
Labors that are not done according to God’s Word, for His glory, and by the Spirit’s inspiration are useless. We choose wisely when we let go of earthly distractions and focus on God’s purposes and His leading.
Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
When we came into a relationship with Christ, that relationship came with a mandate to make disciples as we were going through life. Are we doing this job we were given? Are we praying for others that are working with us? Why then are the laboreres few? If the spread of the Gospel totally depended on you today, then how is the mission going?
Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
5. WE EACH HAVE A PART TO PLAY AND WE WON’T ALWAYS SEE THE FINISHED PRODUCT.
As we’ve said, our main labor in life is spreading the Gospel of the love of Jesus to a dying world. We can’t let ourselves get discouraged when we share this message of hope and people reject it. An old song examines the idea that it could take 15 times of someone hearing about Jesus before they come to Him. We would do well to keep this in mind. These scriptures point out clearly that we each have a job to do, but the results lie in the hands of the Father.
John 4:38 “I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”
6. DON’T GET WEARY.
Laboring is hard. It is time consuming. It is not always fun. Some days it seems like a useless, endless task, as moms of toddlers can testsify – toys never stay picked up, laundry is never done, and spills happen endlessly. But it is worth it. Take this challenge from scripture on the days it is ovewhelming doing what God has called you to do.
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
7. REST –
This busy society values leisure, but the averge person seldom allows themselves true rest. God rested after His 6 days of creation. Likewise, a sabbath of rest each week is important for each of us, and not just a day off to clean house or catch up on projects, but a time to renew our relationship with Jesus, rest our weary bodies, and focus our priorities. A time to lay those spirtual and emotional burdens down before the Father. This is a necessary life skill to learn as we journey through this world and wait for the true rest Jehovah has for us in our immortal life with Him.
Deuteronomy 5:13-14 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’ ”
So this Labor Day let’s commit to working hard, laboring for the Lord, not in vain, but being the worker and praying for more workers, doing our part, not growing weary, and learning to truly rest.