According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Labor Day holiday “is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.”
It’s certainly not a religious holiday by any stretch of the imagination. But the Bible does have a lot to say about how Christ followers should work, and how they should behave as employees; in effect, how they should “labor.”
It’s important to point out that as followers of Jesus Christ our primary purpose as an employee is not so much to contribute to “America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.” Certainly we should be good workers, working hard and displaying integrity in all we do. As Paul says in Ephesians 6:6, we should “work hard, not just to please your masters [employers] when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.”
So, how can Christ-followers be the type of laborers that please their Heavenly Father? Here’s just a sampling of what the Bible says:
- Proverbs 14:23 – All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
- Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,…
- Galatians 6:4-5 – Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
- Colossians 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Do you see how each of these instructions fits into your own work environment and your interactions with fellow employees?
But working hard and being an honest conscientious worker does far more than just please our bosses. The apostle Matthew also tells us that the way we work can draw people to our Savior. He explains, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Finally, Paul exhorts us to “Do everything without grumbling or complaining, so that you may be blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14-15).
As you celebrate Labor Day this year, remember Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history#:~:text=The%20holiday%20is%20rooted%20in, prosperity%2C%20and%20well%2Dbeing. ↑