On this weekend when we celebrate LABOR and pause to consider “WHAT we do” and “WHY we do it,” I am thinking about Andy Griffith. Honest. Why him? Because I grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show as a kid and was mesmerized by those peaceful scenes in Mayberry with friends sitting on the porch at dusk WITHOUT a vibrating smartphone shaking their glass of tea.
With that peaceful remembrance floating through the cinema of my mind, I turn to what God said through the Apostle Paul about why Christians LABOR. Two short but powerful points:
- We labor to AVOID being a burden to others (2 Thessalonians 3:8).
- We labor to SHARE with others (Ephesians 4:28).
Christians view LABOR through a “them-first” lens that sees a two-part movie: 1) Never BE A BURDEN themselves; and 2) Commit to EASE THE BURDENS of others.
Nobody wants their labor to be in vain. Nobody wants to toil without purpose. Everybody wants their work to mean something. The ONLY road to that destination is through Jesus.
But it is NOT automatic to make sure God is in his proper place when we think about our labor.
The tradition of our labor focuses on our twin-tower values of hard work and achievement. Rest from the toil. Satisfaction in the results. Thankfulness in the fruits. But where does God fit into that work paradigm?
If we’re not careful, the “good” parts of work can turn “bad” when:
We put work—the means and the ends–ahead of God.
We never actually see the handiworks of the Lord’s creation
We do not live out our purpose in Christ and make that our legacy.
I ask God to give me the ability to rest deeply this Labor Day. Infuse me with the strength to then restart my toil to generate self-provision…to lift the burdens others endure…and to know it is HIM who makes my labor possible and it is HIM who must receive all of the glory.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What one thing will YOU focus on this LABOR DAY?
“I have learned why people work so hard to succeed…but it’s useless. It’s like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4