The Value of Work
This past weekend was Labor Day weekend. A holiday we often associate with the end of summer vacation and the beginning of another school year. But originally, this holiday was a time to celebrate the value and goodness of work, or labor. After being declared an official holiday in 1894, Labor Day was typically a day set aside to reflect upon the positive ways that work enhances our lives, families and communities. Parades, speeches, and other observances were designed to remind us all that when we engage in meaningful work, when we labor with diligence, when we serve with excellence, everyone benefits.
The wisdom of the Bible reinforces this idea. Christians are encouraged to do their work as unto the Lord. To do all things “in word or deed” in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). The Christian view of work is not that it is a curse, but that it is an opportunity to demonstrate love for God and love for others. Through work, we help to solve problems, meet needs, and serve others. Through work, we alleviate suffering and create new opportunities for human flourishing. Through work, we demonstrate how we are created in the image of God who is always working (John 5:17) to advance His Kingdom purposes.
Christians should be known for working diligently and demonstrating excellence. The Christian who shows up to work with a good attitude, encourages co-workers, takes personal responsibility, meets deadlines and provides a full day’s work without complaint is declaring the glory of God without ever preaching a sermon or quoting a Bible verse.
For those who are students in school, getting a good education is their job. The Bible encourages us to “study, to show ourselves approved” (2 Timothy 2:15). To pay attention in class, to do the homework with diligence, to take on assignments with a commitment to excellence becomes a means of shaping our character and preparing us for a future career.
Those who do not have a paying job still have work to do. Whatever responsibilities or challenges we face in life become part of our “work.” To develop ourselves, to build our character, to volunteer our time and invest our energy in worthwhile pursuits; these are all part of the work we are called to do.
May we be willing to do hard work, and work diligently with a good attitude. Because when we embrace our responsibilities with a commitment to excellence, God is glorified, others are blessed, and we become instruments of grace and goodness to all those around us. Do the work, and enjoy the blessings that result. Listen to the sermon, “A Labor of Love”.
Pastor Mark Miller