Labor Day

Sept 4, 2009

As we approach the Labor Day weekend I have given some thought to the celebration of labor. Our holiday is a yearly tribute to the workers and their contributions to the strength, abundance, and well-being of our nation. What is called the protestant work ethic, from the values of Protestantism and specifically the Puritan values of our forefathers, mixed beautifully with free enterprise and liberty. This mixture produced a society which has given the greatest opportunity to the greatest number of individuals of any society thus far produced upon the earth.

Man was meant to enjoy work. He was placed in the garden and given a job even before he was given a helpmate, in fact it is logical that before he had an assignment he didn’t need help. But actually it is the Lord Jesus who made it possible for us to celebrate labor rather than be sorrowful about it.

You see when Adam and his bride sinned against God certain afflictions came with their disobedience. Immediately man’s relationship to the earth and to his work changed. And what was before a blessing became drudgery and labor. The result of this was “ In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground …” (Gen 3:19).

Remarkably redeeming mankind’s relationship to work and the earth was so high on God’s priority that His Son went about redeeming this even before He went to the cross. In fact the first blood that was shed by the son of God was not on the cross, it was from His forehead. It was not even from the crown of thorns jabbed onto His head. It wasn’t shed by man, but by man’s sin. It was shed by His will as He prayed in anguish to redeem mankind’s ability to work in freedom and not in slavery to the forces of sin nature.

“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

I put it this way – in the first garden holy work was given which was turned into labor and sweat by the curse. In the second garden holy work was given and redemptive blood was sweated to redeem the works of our hands for the Lord.

We truly have something to remember on Labor Day and everyday. The Lord Jesus set us free from toil and released us to service for the Kingdom’s sake. Take some time to remember His labor of love for us, and thank Him for the freedom we now can enjoy in the things we choose to put our hand to do.

Col 3:23-24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

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