The day we celebrate work by not working.
For most of us Labor Day marks:
- the end of summer
- the beginning of fall
- back to school season
- last chance to wear white jeans
- the beginning of football season
- a reason to throw a party and hang out with friends
- an extra day off of work
Labor Day was actually created as a way to pay tribute to working men and women. Pretty straightforward.
Forgive me as my neurotic inability to do nothing takes over but I have to wonder if celebrating labor day by trying to escape all things work is the best way to celebrate the day.
I asked the great
Oz Google why we celebrate labor day and all I really got was the above list of things we do and a short historical debate over who started the holiday. The best thing I could find to answer the ‘why’ question was “to pay tribute to working men and women.” So again I have to ask “why?” Since I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer, I came up with my own.
Our modern view equates work with punishment. It’s a necessary evil – we work to survive. It’s the place we go more than forty hours a week to pay the bills and provide for our indulgences. Work is rarely considered a privilege. It’s a means to an end – safety, security, provision, and rewards.
I’ve often mistaken work as a consequence of our sin. The serpent, the apple, the question, the consequence. After the tragedy in the garden, the ground was cursed, and work entered the world. But when you look more closely at the first chapter of Genesis we’re told that God gave us work to do: have babies, subdue the earth, and rule over the fish, the birds, and every living creature. Before the fall. Before sin messed things up, work was still a part of our lives. God attributed significance to work even before it was a result of our sin. We were made to work.
The work we were given from the beginning of our existence was to “fill the earth and subdue it.” Think about the significance of this. God spent six days creating this unbelievable creation, and he immediately handed its stewardship over to us.
Imagine the care and intentionality that God must have devoted to his creation. Then imagine how significant it was for him to entrust it all into our care. The work we’ve been given is an extraordinary gift that God has entrusted to us.
Today as we celebrate Labor Day, let’s celebrate more than just not having to “work”.
Let’s celebrate the gift we have in being a part of God’s work!
* Portions of this post were taken from my upcoming book Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence