This is the week of Labor Day. Webster’s New World Dictionary says that, in the United States and Canada, Labor Day is, “the first Monday in September,” and it is, “a legal holiday in honor of labor.”
The Bible has a lot to say about labor. One of the first things it says is that labor was a part of the Paradise where Adam lived.
Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (NIV).
In the next book in the Bible, the book of Exodus, we find The Ten Commandments, and there we find the words: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9 NIV).
In the New Testament, we find the apostle Paul telling the Christians in Ephesus, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28 ESV).
Likewise, Paul told the Christians in Thessalonica, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT).
Apparently, some of the Christians in Thessalonica rejected these words, because Paul brought this matter up with them again, and had a lot to say about it this time around.
Here’s just some of what he said to them: “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 ESV).
Finally, Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, “The sleep of a laborer is sweet” (NIV). This reminds me of a story from the book, “The Art of Illustrating,” by Jack Exum.
The story is called, “I Sleeps Good At Night,” and it goes like this: A rancher came to town looking for workers. All had been chosen but one.
“What do you do best?” the rancher asked.
“I sleeps good at nights,” came the reply.
Not being impressed, he did his shopping and on the way back through town he noticed the man still waiting in the park.
“What did you say you did best?” the rancher asked.
“I sleeps good at night,” came the reply.
“What do you mean you sleeps good at night?” the bossman inquired.
“Oh when I works for another, I gives him a full to running over day. Then I puts away all the tools, checks all the cattle in the barn, fills up all the feed troughs, locks all the gates, and goes to the bunk house, and sleeps good at night.”
“You’re just the man I’ve been looking for,” the rancher said.
(Jake King is the preacher at Seneca Church of Christ. He can be reached at (417) 776-3077.)