I’ve been grandparenting for the past week, and in the process got a bad cold, so I’m following my own advice and taking Labor Day off. Here’s what I posted a year ago. I think it remains relevant:
A character in the Sunday comics this week mistakenly
thought Labor Day had something to do with pregnant women.
That made me chuckle, but it served as a reminder of how little we know about this holiday.
Most of us think of it as the last long weekend of summer, a chance to spend time outdoors with family. For businesses dependent on tourism, it may mean a hectic weekend that provides significant income to get through the coming winter. A few communities still hold Labor Day celebrations, but not many have the parades that once marked the occasion.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the holiday was established as a national holiday in 1894 to “exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations’ of the community.” Later, more emphasis was placed upon “the economic and civic significance of the holiday.” In 1909, the American Federation of Labor adopted the preceding Sunday as Labor Sunday, “dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.”
As manufacturing and big industry have taken lesser roles in American society, the holiday seems to have lost much of its significance to the average citizen. Few communities are economically dependent on one or two large manufacturers. But society relies on workers of all kinds to function effectively. Whether we work in a factory or an office; for government, a nonprofit or the private sector; for a large company, a small retailer or our own business, our jobs–or volunteer work–define us and contribute to the smooth running of our community and nation.
As Christians, how we do our jobs matters as much as what we do. The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23, ESV).
This Labor Day, let’s enjoy the day off and resolve to recommit our lives to faithfully serving the Lord in all we do.