Happy Labor Day…here’s a quick history…
Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday. https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history
Coming out of the industrial revolution of the 1800’s workers advocated for rights and working conditions that were safer and more favorable to the worker. The tradition of pausing from “labor” on Labor Day continues to this day as a national holiday. So enjoy your day off…if you have one!
Perhaps the greatest thing you are celebrating today is NOT having to go to work. Mondays can be the challenging start to another work week after a relaxing weekend. Maybe you love getting to work on Monday…perhaps not. Labor Day reminds me that work is a gift that God has given. From the beginning of time, work was not a necessary evil, but a grateful stewardship of what God has given.
Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
We all enjoy a day off and we need to. God himself rested on the seventh day. Yet work is a blessing not only because God entrusted us with work, but he also expects us to work as we are able. Work is a primary way that God provides for us and our families.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
Finally our work can be a great witness opportunity. People notice how you show up and your work. People sense your spirit and attitude about your work. People can see if your work is done well or just enough to get by. It’s easy to fall into the trap of working hard while the boss is looking, but slacking when he or she isn’t. As God’s people we get the chance in our workplace to create conversations around work well done. When people notice and give recognition, it’s an opportunity to direct the praise to your Father in heaven who gave you the abilities, the mindset and the desire to bring glory to him and add value to the people you serve.
Matthew 5:15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
So enjoy your Labor Day! Pause to thank God for the gift of work, what he provides through your work and the opportunities you have to glorify him in your work!
Apply: What perspective change would be helpful in your work to show up each day as a child of God ready to do your best and bring glory to God through your work? What blessings has God given to you through your work?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the blessing of work and the ability to use what you have given to me to glorify you, add value to people, and support my family. All these are a blessing from you. AMEN!