A Christian Reflection on Labor Day
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
God loves, and respects those who work hard. The argument could be made that our willingness to work hard proves the depth and sincerity of our faith. Consider what James Eckman of Crosswalk.com had to say when discussing Labor Day, “By working we resemble God. Like God, you have the ability to work, make plans, implement them, and be creative.” As Christians we should always be seeking to be more Christ-like, and we were after all created in God’s own image. As Eckman points out in our work just in all things we should follow God’s own pattern
Next we turn to what scripture itself has to say. The Bible teaches us that working to support ourselves and our families is a necessary function of our time here on Earth. We see this in the words of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 which states plainly “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” So God expects us to work in order to acquire the things of this world that we and our families need. God expects us to depend on what we are able to earn to meet our needs.
But is it enough to just work ? Just do enough to get by ? No, for the mature Christian it certainly shouldn’t be. Paul tells us this in his letter to the Ephesians, “Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Ephesians 6:6-7. Paul isn’t saying that we shouldn’t do as our bosses say, scripture in other places tells us that we should. He speaks instead of the motivation we put behind the work that we do. Our work, whatever work it is we have to do should be done because of what God expects. It should also be done to please him, and to his standards not those coming from anyone of this world. This same thought is echoed in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
So while there are some jobs that pay better, and other jobs that are seen to have more prestige, none of that matters in God’s eyes. God is more interested in our effort and the enthusiasm that we put to the tasks that we are given. He doesn’t care about job titles, or where we fall on the organizational chart. His expectation is that we will strive to meet his own cheerful, tireless example. Labor day is not usually thought of as a religious holiday. But that does not, and should not prevent us from using the day to remind ourselves of what our faith has to say about the value of our work, and the value of the work done by others. God values the worker, and so should we !