What Are You Working For?
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It's Labor Day. And if you don't work in any arm of the retail, food, transportation or service industries—or any other type of enterprise that's on the clock—then you just might have the day off.
If so, then maybe you are:
a) Relaxing by the pool
b) Sleeping in ‘til noon
c) Enjoying an end-of-summer vacation
d) Celebrating your job
What? You didn't answer "d"? I'm shocked! Okay, so neither did I. And that may or may not say something about how we view our work.
So, if we don't think about our work on Labor Day, does that mean we're not thankful for our jobs? Or does it simply mean we are choosing to focus on other things on a day off? Like relaxation, family, friends, projects around the house, shopping or travel.
Either way, Labor Day is a day when many of us have the opportunity to take a break from the normal daily grind. Some of us may very well need that clean mental break from work and need to clear our noggins and not think about what we are usually doing on a Monday.
But then maybe some of us should take some time to consider our work, the labor of our hands, and what it means to have a job. Your heart attitude is sure to help give you a clue.
A few of my friends who are unemployed right now are probably viewing Labor Day in a completely different light. I know they'd give their right arm to have any sort of employment that pays. And I know what that feels like. I, too, have been unemployed at one point in my life. And I discovered that if I never taste another 99-cent bowl of instant noodles again, that that will be just fine with me.
During my "out-of-work" days, I remember thinking about what it was like to be employed. What did I miss about my job? What was I looking for in a future job? And what was the purpose of work in my life?
Today, I am employed again (obviously), but I don't often think about work like I did when I was without a job. I mostly think about what I am getting (as in salary, vacation, benefits) rather than what I am giving. And I'm sure that if you are currently in a difficult job situation, then you might be struggling to understand (or accept) the bigger purpose of why God has placed you there and hasn't yet changed your circumstances.
Perhaps some reflection is good for us both today. Is a job something that should be viewed as a blessing in our lives? The way by which we can reach others for Christ? The way by which we can support ourselves and our families? The way by which we can give back to God with our paychecks, by tithing to our church or to ministries or by helping individuals and families in need?
Let's turn our work on its ear and starting seeing labor as Ephesians 5:20 reminds us: "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Author and poet J.G. Holland said, "God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest." As believers, our lives on earth are not a vacation. We were designed with a purpose and God has plans for each of us to work in and for his Kingdom. But you and I must choose to be willing, to be used and to serve someone other than ourselves. Reflect on your job today and see how the Lord wants to use the work of your hands for him.
**Listen to the audio/podcast version of this devotional here.