Labor Day in the United States is a federal holiday celebrating the contributions the workers of the nation have made to making the United States the bountiful country it is. Labor Day was made a national holiday under the administration of President Grover Cleveland, with the first national holiday being celebrated in 1894. Labor Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September.
For a relatively brief period of my childhood, my father belonged to a labor union. As a child, Labor Day meant parades and picnics that provided unlimited amounts of the foods we cherish during the summer: grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, potato chips, potato salad, cole slaw, and, of course, ice cream. As the day moved to evening - September is just 60-plus short days from federal, state and local elections - the politicians began arriving. As the politicians started explaining why they should keep their elected offices, or be allowed to take another person’s office, the stark reality set in: fall was rapidly approaching, family barbecues were taking a sabbatical, school would start the following day, and the warmth cherished was yielding to the colors of fall and the hibernation that winter brings.
The Bible teaches us to cherish the events of childhood, while instructing us to embrace the responsibilities of being an adult, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)
As I matured, the importance of the Labor Day holiday began to change for me. I learned that the labor movement in the United States began by seeking a uniform 8 hour work day. Work 8 hours, recreate 8 hours, and rest 8 hours. The labor movement sought safe working conditions and fair pay for the labor pool in the UnitedStates. My view of labor never grew to exclude management, as the Labor Day picnic oratory would inevitably drift. “Them against us” attitudes never seemed productive to me. My Christian values trumped that way of thinking. Whether labor or management, all should be guided by this simple Biblical principle: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV)
As a not so young man reflecting on the Labor Day holiday celebrations I have been privy to, I find the most important ingredient to productive labor force is recognizing Jesus Christ, which was missing in all Labor Day celebrations I attended. Christianity is not a narrow philosophical concept, it encompasses all things and dictates all relationships. It requires an examination of relationships based on caring for all mankind through a relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship, if genuine and not merely lip service, will produce a work force that will do its best work and an employer who will provide meaningful employment. Are you thankful? “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17, ESV)
No one can honestly not be impressed with the network of sanitation, transportation, education, health, food, and on and on and on that the American laborer has provided this country through their creativity, sweat, diligence, and unwavering desire to provide a wonderful life for themselves and all who call the United States of America home. We thank the Lord for all those He provided to build the highways and byways, keep our country clean and healthy from the bazillion tons of trash we generate every year, those who farm to produce food for our city folk, for the doctors who treat the sick, to the lawyers who protect individual freedom, to the researchers who are diligently seeking a cure or a better way, to ——- the list is endless. Like Charlie Cruise* would say, “It’s all connected.” We truly are - making our county great.
All of us at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries wish you and yours a blessed Labor Day holiday and encourage you to invite Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life. We also want to thank all of you for providing this nation, The United States of America, with an incredible standard of living - through Jesus Christ. We encourage you to take a few minutes on September 5, 2016, to thank the Lord for the men and women whom He provides to do the labor that makes our county a wonderful place to live. Pray for all American’s who are looking for work - that work will be provided. As you pray remember the benefits from and blessings of labor that comes from Jesus Christ our Lord.
*A character from the television show Life