Friday, September 2, 2016

Labor Day

What do you think of when you think of Labor Day? Just the word labor sends me off in multiple directions. For starters, in the last 120 years America has set aside the first Monday in September to recognize the contributions of the American worker. Much of this recognition has been geared toward the social and economic achievements that labor has brought to our nation. But as we saw with our Genesis series, labor has an intrinsic goodness to it; it is part of what it means to be in God’s image. So with Martin Luther, we remember that each of us was created to glorify God as we serve one another through our labor: “…A cobbler, a smith, a farmer, each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops, and every one by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other, that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, even as all the members of the body serve one another…” 

But even as we celebrate the contributions of labor, I am also reminded of the insufficiency of labor, particularly as it pertains to our relationship with our Abba. These words of Augustus Toplady ring with Gospel truth: “Not the labors of our hands, can fulfill thy laws demands. Could our zeal no respite know, could our tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone, thou must save and thou alone.” What our labor could never do, Jesus has done in securing our way to God. In Him we now stand without condemnation, clothed in his righteousness!

But there is still a third way we might think of labor. While Christ’s labor is the good news of the Gospel, we know that he calls laborers into his Kingdom; not to earn salvation, but because we have already received it. However, precisely because of His finished work we can now labor for the kingdom with all the resources that He provides! Pastor Steve will develop this theme for us more fully as we look forward to a new church year through the lens of Matthew 14 and Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand.

There is more to Labor Day than meets the eye. May the Lord grant us the grace to reflect with Gospel vision on our work, Christ’s finished work, and our grateful service for Him.

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