You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Psalm 128:2 (NLT)
Are you looking forward to the Labor Day holiday on Monday? I know it’s another chance to sleep late and a break from school. But do you know what or who we celebrate on Labor Day?
Labor Day became an official national holiday in 1894. It is usually celebrated with summer activities – swimming, camping, picnics, etc. Kind of strange that the day we celebrate workers, we don’t work! But the government’s main reason for making Labor Day a national holiday was to show respect for all the workers in America who do the jobs that make this country run.
On Labor Day, we honor and celebrate those hard-working people who make things happen in our lives. The truck driver and the teacher; the farmer and the banker; the garbage man and the grocer. We give thanks for the school bus driver, the firefighters and police officers, the people who build our roads and the people who build our houses, all those people who work hard to make sure that our lives work together.
Do your mom or dad go to work every day? Do they sometimes come home tired and maybe even a little grouchy? It’s hard work to provide for a family so we need to tell our parents how much we appreciate all that they do for us. They go to work each day to earn money to buy you food or clothes or that new game you’ve been wanting. Then they come home and “labor” some more cooking dinner, washing clothes, mowing the yard, fixing the faucet. I think you’d be surprised at how much “work” your parents do when they aren’t “working.” This Labor Day would be a good time to tell them thanks for all they do for you.
Can you think of any people in the Bible who worked very hard? Look at the very beginning of the Bible in Exodus and see how hard the Israelites had to work for the Egyptians. They even had to go find their own straw to make bricks! The Lord saw how hard they were working and sent His servant Moses to lead them out of Egypt into the promised land.
Remember how hard Jacob had to work for Laban just so he could marry Rachael. Jacob worked for Laban for 14 years. Seven years for Rachael only to be cheated by Laban. But he kept working hard for another seven years so that he could have Rachael as his wife.
Joseph worked very hard in the Bible. He worked hard first as a slave in Potiphar’s household and later he worked many years for the Pharaoh, gathering a portion of the grain for years so that the people would have something to eat when the time of famine came.
Jesus worked very hard, too, during His ministry here on earth. As a young man, he worked as a carpenter for many years, making things for other people. When it came time for Him to start His ministry, He worked hard for other people; healing them, teaching them, saving them. He was their Shepherd, their way to Heaven, their only hope. Jesus came to lead lost sinners to God and that was hard work because some people weren’t ready to listen to what He had to say. He did His Father’s will and gave up His life on the cross for us so that we could have eternal life with God.
When the Lord gave Moses the new laws after the Israelites had left Egypt, one of them said that we should take a break from working. God told the people that they should work for six days and then rest on the seventh day. This rest was so that we could take time to worship and praise the One who made the world and all the good things in it.
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” Exodus 34:21
So when you celebrate Labor Day on Monday, take time to thank the Lord for all that He is and all that He has done. Thank Him for all the people who work hard so that your life is easier. Thank Him for your mom and dad who are always working hard for you. And thank Him for Jesus who worked hard so you could go to Heaven.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (NLT)
A Stander in Nebraska