I am sure I’m not the only one who finds it a little odd that we celebrate a day by not doing what the day honors. Yet, on the very day we are supposed to give honor to labor, or work, we take a day off.
Oh, but you say, “It’s not about the celebration of work; it’s about celebrating the worker.” Yeah, if that’s true, then why not call it Laborer Day?
Labor Day is a holiday that was founded by the unions, which in turn were founded by those with “collective” and “progressive” ideologies. From a purely ideological perspective, the whole holiday is one in which the worker is supposed to feel free to snub his nose in the face of evil, greedy, imperialistic corporations and fat rich people and say, “This is my day! No profit for you!”
Essentially, our Labor Day was designed to be a watered-down version of International Workers Day (the Communist May Day holiday). Therefore, even though it is a noble thing to stand up for workers’ rights, there is room to evaluate the intent of some who would move our nation down the path toward socialism (hello AOC and Bernie).
However, my purpose here is not to bash Labor Day; it’s to encourage a holy perspective!
A Holy Day
But what if we Christians did things differently? What if, like with Christmas and Easter, we take a pagan holiday and turn it into a Christian holy day?
Celebrating the birth of Christ is a good thing, so we read Scripture about it, sing carols, and dress up like barn animals in church plays. Easter is the highest holy day because it’s the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave – without which our faith would be in vain.
Why not celebrate work, labor, our jobs, with a day that focuses on the spiritual and biblical truths relating to it? Why not celebrate and proclaim the holy aspects of labor?
A Holy Thing
It may be hard to get your mind around it, but work is a good thing. As a matter of fact, even in Heaven, there will be work to do (Revelation 22:3). The reason is that God is the one who created work (Genesis 2:15), and it was meant for our good.
Some people call what they do in the workplace secular. They tend to separate what they do at their job from what they might do at church or on the mission field. However, all work is holy if we are children of God, and all of our labor should be for His glory (Ephesians 6:5-9).
“The maid who sweeps the kitchen floor is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays – not because she may sing a Christian hymn while she sweeps, but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” – Martin Luther
It may sound a little odd, but God is still at work, today. Yes, He rested on the seventh day after Creation, but He’s been at work in the hearts of men and women ever since. And what’s awesome is that for some reason He has chosen us to have a part in His work – not in the saving part, but in the gathering.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. “Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:37-38 CSB
No matter what kind of work you do, you work for the Lord. No matter where you labor, you are in the fields for the Lord. And, no matter what kind of product you produce or service you provide, if Jesus is with you, the ultimate aim is to collect the produce of heaven – the souls of men.
It may be on the kitchen floor,
Or in a busy store,
Or teaching, nursing, day be day
Till limb and brain almost give way;
Yet if, just there, by Jesus thou art found
The place thou standest is Holy Ground.
– M. Colley (1939)
Labor is a holy thing, so let’s celebrate it with a holy day.
8 responses to “Some Thoughts On Work (Labor)”
Good OP. I had response but it vaporized. My Labour was in vain.
In short, which is not my specialty.
Today is a Day to say”Stick it to the Man”
Christianity is built on equality, not contempt for one another. We are saved to something. Theology is trash , a clanging symbol if we do not esteem others as more valuable than ourselves. I am about to start a venture to help the poor and get them housing. It could be a venture for arguments sake to help the worker, But I won’t be asking the church generally. They do not know anything about love. You can drive by their places and hear clanging symbols, with all kinds of theology that doesn’t mean anything.
If you speak a word out of turn you are pissed on. If you are the poor, you are a mooch, if you are a dad you are a dead beat, If you want to do something different you are trouble maker. The self esteem of the church low and defensive like Cain willing to kill Abel. The worker, the poor are not equals, What is man that you are mindful of him? why did Jesus even come to our filth, the elevator down must have taken years to get down to our level, yet we can give a moment for the poor. While the Early church was all over it, we are not. we have contempt for everyone, point fingers, are always offended, bicker and fight. But Love, If you do not love you are not born gain. He who loves is born of the father, but he who does not does not know God. The Spirit, is not active. Just clanging symbols.
Labour day is a great day to respect the hard work and value of the blue collar, the red neck. and realize they are equals. that there is no clergy and Laity, that Jesus tore down the vale. That we esteem others better than ourselves. We treat people as Christ did, and lift up those of so called Lower degree. Partiality is a Sin.
Thumbs up to you ditch diggers you toilet cleaners. You preachers and bankers and house wives and grass cutters and all those who give in to peoples lives, you are so wonderful.
You are the most prolific follower I have. Never a quick comment, but always one that requires me to stop for a second to read. I’m not complaining, though; I appreciate your work 🙂
Thanks. Well I came loaded, I was out to coffee with bunch, One of them was a smug greasy grace guy, another a guy I took into my home for 2.5 years and another a recovering catholic.
This morning i am meeting with two Sociology Profs from McGill university to go over plans to create solution for the homeless. Its a huge topic. I have the answer, for the narrow thing I want to do, providing cottage style houses 10×12 with a bathroom in a camp style setting that are set on footings that can be power washed out. Lots of details etc.
So anyways, I have been wrestling as to what christianity looks like the social gospel, etc. So one must ask as they step over the guy between the bank doors, is there anything we can do. What is the value of people, and do we throw stones at the wounded. Like the church does.
One Atheist said to me years back, that he unlike me, chose not to rape, chose to be honest, chose to be who he wanted to be. I on the other hand according to him don’t do things cause I follow rules, but did not decide myself not to be that person and didn’t do the searching. I get his point. And some Christians when left to themselves go right into sin full out.
My consern is that Christians are hollowed out. That they took the gospel s means to help themselves to the cake, but did not see the obligation, and the character change. Not in legalism, To have new life, can be earned, to have the spirit cant be given , our dead spirit needs jumper cables to be put on it, by almighty God and if we die to self we can rise alive, in newness of life, but to what? Do we stretch our hands and gloat that we got free tickets to the game and that is it? Paul and the others spent their lives for others understanding the love of God. That when people were spitting on them, he had no self worth issues such to cause him to fire back but instead said, forgive them. He was in no danger.
Yet some how, we are always protecting ourselves at the expense of others, Cain killing Abel.
Its this sort of thing, the Jacob and Esau reunion, the communion of people, the tenderness of God I am trying to grasp. And ask What is God, Who is He, Both Holy punishing contempt with snakes, but merciful putting his own flesh on the same pole to forgive that contempt when people come repenting. (john 3:14-15) the missing gospel.
And it is this nature that should be found in us toward our neighbour, toward our labourer.
There got it ll out.
I have helped build homes for the homeless in Guatemala through the Gods Child organization (a conversation all it’s own). We know that if we could get the homeless to help build it (not just do it for them) they are more appreciative and care for that home or it’s trashed. There is something about “work” that builds character, ownership, and is a means to building relationships. Then an infrastructure of accountability based on relationship can be started with a work program for a building block of living on one’s own. Also Good post Anthony.
Love work by the way…grew up on the farm. worked my way through college 45 hours a week and a full load at school. God is my ultimate boss. “Whatever you do in word and deed do all to the glory of God”
Never been to Guatemala or anywhere south of the border. South of the Equator, yes, but not in the Americas. Someday.
Because I renovate homes do bathrooms basements, house flips or new I have a chance to donate some of my time to each customer, and an opportunity to preach the gospel.
As for this project, the Cottages will be per-manufactured in a factory and placed on concrete supports. I have massive detailed plan. And if one gets burned out, a small truck mounted crane would put them on a flat bed and drop another.
As for helping. the first thing is the guarantee of a roof and warmth, the help and helping back comes after they are settled. But the place will be semi- temporary. Still there will be Odd jobs from cutting grass and shoveling snow on site that is paid to residents.
And off site, business will be coordinating to have a hand in the project offering temperary work even if only one day a week or for 4 hrs unloading a truck or doing some job which will be lined up with our “union steward” who ensures they get paid, and that they get placed and the gov’t pays the $4 per hr to the employer they offer in program to help the unemployed.
But the main thing, the measure of success is first, that they have a roof over their head, that is a win, But of course as things move forward the Idea is that its not a permanent place, but place of safety, a place to breath and let PTSD or Mental illness or Addiction take a back seat so they can get into more permanent housing get some clothes, some basic medical, and stuff and be treated like they actually matter.
As you have done to the least of these you have done to me.
When I was hungry you fed me…
Enter into the joy of the Lord.
Back in the day when I was a management labor negotiator, the Business Agent for Operating Engineers #3 considered Labor Day his High Holy Day. Despite our differences, we had a great relationship.