Labor Day was created to honor the contributions that workers have made to economic well-being of America. President Grover Cleveland first made it a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day is the first Monday in September, falling on the 5th this year.
What is God's perspective on labor, or, as we say today, "work"? God expects us to work for most of the week. In Exodus 20:9 we read God's command that for "six days you shall labor and do all your work." But it’s not just about putting in our time, God encourages us to work with passion and diligence: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10a). Work is important and allows us do the essential things in life – provide for ourselves, family, as well as others in need.
In our 24/7 society, it is nice to remember that God understands our need for rest! Sabbath is referred to 111 times in the Old Testament also occurs 67 times in the New Testament.
"Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work" (Exodus 20:9-10a). God understands we need a day away from work so bad that it is fourth in the Ten Commandments!
But true rest, is not found through inactivity, the end of the commandment is paramount. “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8).
To honor the Sabbath of the Lord your God, is worship.
Worship is more than putting your time in at church. Doing that, you make it work – just like punching a time clock. Worship helps us connect with God and others. Worship helps us understand our purpose in God’s world and prepares us to live it out the rest of the week.
Jesus offers this promise, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.
God's "work week" is a marvelous schedule that works. It pushes us to work hard at our jobs and other responsibilities throughout the week, and then gives us a day of rest to focus on God.
While our society celebrates this one day off a year God commands Sabbath every week! As you prepare for the upcoming holiday weekend, remember to always put God first and keep the Sabbath holy. Have a restful Labor Day weekend, but more importantly may you be blessed by the Sabbath. Hope to see you at church.
Ongoing prayers and blessings, Rob