Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day thoughts revisited. . .

Remembering what I wrote a while ago. . .

It has become the buzzword.  Got no signal for your smart phone?  First world problem!  Got no organic, free range eggs for your egg white omelet?  First world problem!  Got no dishwasher for your tiny house?  First world problem! We carry around our water bottles oblivious to the environmental impact of all those plastic bottles in the land fill.  We spend all our money on technology and complain about tipping the water who forgot all the substitutions we made on the menu items we ordered.  First world problem!  We are sad when we planned on retiring at 55 only to have to work ten years more before we are free to live off the grid of responsibility.  First world problem!

We complain that we cannot sleep but we spend most of our days staring in the vast emptiness of the internet on cell phones we cannot turn off with ear buds making us slowly but surely deaf while driving our hybrid automobiles as if they were weapons in our hands.  We assume that money is a right and work is an option.  If we must work it is only so that we can play and not because there is anything laudable or honorable about the labor itself.  We put in place rules to prevent our children from learning how to work at all and then we fill them with the idea that they are owed financial remuneration consummate with their idea of their worth when they do seek a job.

There is my rant for Labor Day.  There is something noble and good about work -- even though most of us have forgotten about it.  And I am not referring here to the paycheck.  Work.  It is a gift.  Ask the unemployed or underemployed who would love to work but cannot find a job!  Ask the person who has been told to retire because they made it to a magic age but they just want to keep on working.  Go back to Genesis and ask God about work. We were created for it.

We were created to exercise dominion over all that God made.  Our first sin was wanting to be owner when we were just managers.  We rejected God, we rejected His Word, and we insisted that dominion meant we could do as we pleased.  Look how far that got us.  Even when God had to banish us from Eden, He did not leave us without direction.  Man's labor shall cost him the ached of his back and woman's delight shall come at great pain.  Even their very relationship will require work for it to endure.  Yet the gift of Christ is not to bypass this purpose in creation.  Our Lord redeemed us so that we might take back the labor as our noble work.

Six days shall you labor, says the Lord.  It was not punishment until we rebelled against God's purpose and chose to dominate and exploit rather than exercise dominion over His creation.  Labor is not a means to an end (the paycheck that buys us leisure) but privilege of God's partnership -- and one that did not disappear at the introduction of sin even though it was dramatically transformed.

I expect to work until I die.  I suspect that most of us will whether we expect it or not.  To be sure, we may not last forever at the pinnacle of our success but work is inevitable.  Our homes invite labor just as much as our relationships require it or they will fall apart.  How many times have we not seen someone keel over dead only weeks after retirement supposedly opened up a new tomorrow for them?  Man is defined by his purpose and woman is defined by her purpose and both labor, side by side, to make a house a home, a home a neighborhood, a neighborhood a community, and industry to supply the community.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is how we were wired by God.  So happy Labor Day to you.  Just as you were designed for work, you were created for worship.  Labor is better gift than gold.  Just don't forget it.

In a world in which we actually have people suggesting a guaranteed annual wage for every citizen is a real and salutary goal, one perhaps prepared by the recent COVID checke we all received, labor continues to be seen in less than favorable terms.  In a world in which protests against injustice steal away the fruits of a lifetime of labor for the small businesses that suffered when these turned into riots, the value of labor is obscured.  In a world in which people presume that you are better off on unemployment than risking anything by venturing out to work, labor has become an enemy of our well-being and not an agent of it.  The bulk of the words above I wrote a very long time ago but little has changed.  There is nothing evil or wrong with work. We were created for work.  So again, happy Labor Day to you all..  If you have a job, give thanks to God.  If you have a job but are looking for a better one, God bless you.  If you have no job but are striving to find one, may the Lord guide your ways.  But if you are sitting at home thinking this world and your fellow men owe you a living, the Scripture for you is if a man will not work, neither shall he eat.