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. 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?
Sadly, there are many on church rolls who are content with “just showing up” on occasion to a service to only hear the Word, without ever hearing the Word. (For if they had heard the Word of God, they would be drawn unto the Lord’s service; desiring to be a willing sanctified vessel meet for the Master’s use.) As a result, they live lives that are often in disarray, lacking in faith, often living in fear, never developing a close relationship with the Lord. Consequently, their service unto the Lord is as a “painful effort”. When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His church, His first word was “GO“. This simple word, though strong and direct in its command, brings forth a responsibility to one who is willing to hear the Word. The responsibility demands that one prays, studies, and meditates upon God’s Word – and then tests God’s Word in one’s daily experiences. Faithfulness to the responsibility will lead one to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul. This kind of love will then manifest itself in a desire to become the salt and the light for Christ to a lost and dying world. Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 we read that we are to be “ambassadors for Christ”, and that our ministry is to spread the Gospel message of “reconciliation”. In other words, we are to labor telling the world about Jesus Christ our redeemer and Saviour.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21,
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Unfortunately, many church members believe that only the pastor, the deacons, and the leaders of the church are to be the ambassadors. However, we must remember that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to the “church at Corinth”, which was inclusive of all her members. Therefore, we must conclude that all our members are to be spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ as well. Souls will be saved, baptized, added to the local church, and will become teachable through the efforts of one who has chosen to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. [cf. James 1:22.]
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.”
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 “work of love” unto the Lord and verify that we are serving Him with our very being – from our whole heart, mind, and soul.