Monday, September 5, 2016

The dignity of work. . .

On the one hand we face this Labor Day acknowledging that a certain segment of young males would rather spend their time playing video games and watching porn than living maturely the life of vocation as worker, husband, father, and citizen.  I am not at all sure what to make of all of this but do not doubt the challenges.

On the other hand, we enter this Labor Day with a military in which men and women now fight along side each other, in which women tend to see career as a greater and more productive role than mother, and in which many if not most our children have no significant male role model in the home (father or step-father).  Again, you will read my words in vain to find a solution to all of this.

But on Labor Day the Christian should spend a moment or two on the idea of work as a gift and the blessing of vocation (both inside and outside the home).  Ask the un- or under-employed and they will tell you that for those who desire it, work is a gift and blessing and to face life without a good, stable job is a difficult and taxing burden.  But it is not simply a gift when we miss it.  It is a gift and purpose that goes right to the heart of who we are and why we are here.  It is first article stuff.  I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.  And Luther leads us here to finish that thought by making it very personal. 
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.
Secondly we would do well to remember that we have a vocation not of our choice but by virtue of God's creation.  We are given the earth not as possession but as God's resource to use for His glory.  We are born into a family and have a vocation as son or daughter to our parents for as long as they live.  We live in community and have a vocation to our neighbor and as citizen in the state whether we like our neighbor or approve of our government.  We enter into marriage not simply for what it offers us but to fulfill the godly vocation of husband to wife, wife to husband, and parent to children.  Vocation is what does not change (at least until death).  This is our vocation -- our godly venue in which we work and for which our labors go forth every bit as to the Lord.  Even the Sabbath is not a rest in which we do nothing but undertake the work of worship, honoring God as our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier by trusting in the one God in the Three Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

So as you bite into your burgers and hot dogs and corn on the cob and pop open a beer, remember that labor is a burden only because of sin and in spite of sin it is still a gift, a blessing, and privilege -- whether the venue is in the home, in the neighborhood, at the workplace, or in worship.  Labor is a gift and the reward is not the paycheck but understanding who we are and why we were made.  When that happens, the holiday becomes a lifetime!


John Joseph Flanagan said...

When a person who professes to be a Christian has a decent job, or even one that is not great but pays the bills, he or she should have an attitude of gratitude towards God. So easy to whine and complain about our jobs, whatever they are, but when you look at your job as a blessing, you have got it right. God doesn't owe you anything, but in His providence He gives us a means to feed our families and have some other essentials and luxuries. Work is a wonderful thing. I have worked using my head as well as my back throughout my life. Now I am retired, but for many years it was 80 hour weeks, mostly two jobs. One job used my head to do clerical and administrative things, while part time and second jobs involved things like security jobs, janitorial or maintenance, packing produce, unloading trucks in grocery stores...whatever it took. It was not always easy....but God blessed me and enabled me to raise three kids with my wife beside me. Indeed, remember that work is important, and appreciate God's blessings every day of your life.

Judy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judy said...

Thank you for the idea on a "Labor Day" FB post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for man bashing again. Women are voracious consumers of Pr0n. Fifty Shades of Grey is Chick-Lit.

Anonymous said...

"...[Young] males would rather spend their time playing video games and porn than living maturely the life of vocation as worker, husband, father, and citizen..."

Note to churchians: Men will man up once womyn man down.

Anonymous said...

I have add to my comment above and ask if pastor Peters or any of the readers can actually testify that they know of some young man who is living off his parents and doing nothing. I, personally, have never encountered these men. Most young men I have known, who didn't seek meaningful work, were summarily kicked out of the home.
I have known of lots of girls who loaf at home.
The whole thing sounds like a Oprah Wibfrey Show or Dr. Phil show.

Anyway please provided real proof and not some article from Jezebel, The Frisky, CafeMom or Cosmopolitan.