The first Monday in September each year is celebrated as Labor Day. The first Labor Day was held in 1882.
The first Monday in September each year is celebrated as Labor Day. The first Labor Day was held in 1882. It became a federal holiday in 1894. All government offices, schools and organizations and many businesses are closed. It is usually viewed as the end of the season when most Americans take their vacations and the beginning of another school year.
Labor Day, oddly enough, is a day when people stop working for a day in order to celebrate the value of work. It is also a good time to recognize that God takes our work seriously. Yes, your work matters to God, and for that reason it has intrinsic value. There are three reasons why this is true:
First, God is a worker. You perhaps have never thought of God in this way. Actually it is as a worker that God makes His first appearance on the pages of Scripture. In Genesis 1 we see the account of God creating the heavens and the earth. Genesis 2:2 calls this activity “work.” It is the same word used for man’s work in the Ten Commandments. Since the time of Creation, God has continued to work. Jesus declared to the Pharisees, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (John 5:17).
Deuteronomy 11:17 tells us that God is working out His purposes in the context of history. He accomplished the great work of atonement at the Cross. As Jesus explained: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). The fact that God calls what He does “work” and calls that work “good” means that work has intrinsic value.
Second, God created people as workers. The beginning words of the book of Genesis tell us that God created man in His image as a worker. “God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26,28-29). Not only is God a worker, but humans are to be workers also. This idea gives dignity to our work. It is valued by God.
Third, God created people to be His coworkers. God planted the Garden of Eden; man cultivated it. The first partnership in history! What an incredible privilege – to work in partnership with God! Does this sound odd to you: an infinite all-powerful, God co-laboring with humans? If that does not give a sense of joy and dignity to the work you do – no matter what it is – I have no idea what would. Genesis implies that you and God are meant to be coworkers throughout life. God “plants”; you and I “cultivate.” That is a partnership.
You and I are junior partners in God’s work. Yet our participation in God’s work makes it our work too. We are co-laborers with God in managing His creation. An omnipotent, sovereign Creator has no need of our labor to accomplish His work. However, He chooses to allow us to participate in His plans. This implies that our work, if it is legitimate work, is actually a function of God’s grace. Legitimate work is any work that contributes to what God wants done in the world — and does not contribute to what He does not want done.
Millions of people today have no joy or sense of fulfillment in their labors. No matter where you earn your paycheck – as a teacher, physician, nurse, athlete, bus driver, pilot, construction worker, grocer, etc. – if you will think of yourself as being God’s partner, you will be surprised how much more fulfilling it will be. If you cannot do what you do in partnership with God, there are plenty of jobs available where you can.
Celebrate this Labor Day by realizing that God is your partner. Go to work on Tuesday filled with joy.