This weekend we celebrate Labor Day. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. Over the last 100+ years the citizenry of this country have made many contributions through innovation, technology, and hard work (for which I will refer to as “sweat equity”) which resulted in our country leading and/or surpassing all other countries. In reviewing the accomplishments of the labor force in this country, we must now ask the question, “How far have we come in the Lord’s work?” Let me explain. As children of God and as New Testament churches throughout this country, are we investing the same type of “sweat equity” in serving the Lord? Do we still view our service unto the Lord as a “work of love” – or do we view our service unto the Lord as a “painful effort”? If your response is the latter, could it be that you have lost sight of the blessings of today as well as the eternal rewards of tomorrow?
Consider for a moment the words of Galatians 6:9-10,
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
How often have you either read or heard this passage being preached and thought the following, “All my Christian life I have looked for opportunities to do good unto all; I helped where I could; yet, I have not seen a [benefit] from all my labors. And many times when I did help, I was taken advantage of for my good nature. Therefore, why should I continue seeking opportunities to do good?” First, it must be stated that when we seek a “benefit” (that is, an acknowledgment, a pat-on-the-back, or a reward) for our “labors”, we will never be satisfied by the “return”. This is because we most often over-value our own efforts. And it must also be stated that if the only reason we “do good unto others” is for a “benefit“, we have missed the “spirit” of doing good – which is to follow the examples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Consider for a moment the following passage in Matthew 6:1-4,
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
Having made the former statements, let’s consider for a moment that many also struggle with the following statement, “I would like to be obedient and do good unto others. However, I just don’t know where to begin.” I would suggest that you prayerfully read Romans 12:9-18. It must be acknowledged that the passage in Romans 12 represents a lifetime of service unto the Lord – in “doing good unto all, especially unto those of the household of faith” (which should be a “labor of love”). But again we must not lose sight of Galatians 6:9, for it stated, “faint not in well doing, for in due season we shall reap.” If our heart and our spirit are inclined to the “doing” (that is, the “sweat equity of the labor”) instead of immediately “reaping“, the Lord has promised that there will be rewards. Though we may not realize all of the rewards/benefits for our labors in this lifetime, we are encouraged by our Lord in Matthew 6:20 to,
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”
This Labor Day, I pray that we will review our “labor of love” unto the Lord and verify that we are serving Him with our very being – from our whole heart, mind, and soul.