God sees all who labor under those who create a toxic workplace. God sees all who labor for a company who doesn’t pay a fair wage. God sees all who labor under the weight of their circumstances—the spouses who are trying to hold their families together, the young person hoping to live out their dreams and the older individual who has contributed so much and is now cast aside. God sees it all. God sees those whom the workplace marginalizes – the minorities, the disabled, the chronically ill and the aging. God sees all who are passed over, all who are trying to get ahead and all who are working more than one job just to provide the basics. God sees the ones who do hard work without pay so the breadwinner can enjoy clean laundry, a hot meal and a tidy house when they come home from their labor. God sees all.
Work is part of God’s good plan for our lives, and God intended for our work to produce fruit. I’ve been blessed to do work that I love, but I also know the heartaches of work. Our labor is most fruitful when we remember our work isn’t our purpose in life, our purpose is to know and serve God:
“What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. God has made everything beautiful in its time. The Lord has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-14).
We are a culture who worships our work, and it has taken a toll on our souls. We have defined ourselves by our abilities, financial gains and promotions and by our disappointments, missed opportunities and injustices. The wise Solomon had everything—intellect, power, wealth—and he concluded it was all meaningless apart from God. Solomon stated that all labor and achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor (4:4), and that no amount of wealth produces contentment (4:8). In the end, Solomon concluded that purpose and meaning in life cannot be found in human endeavors.
On this Labor Day we celebrate the American worker. We deserve a rest from our labor, but there are some jobs don’t allow much time for rest. Duty always calls us to do more and more and we fear that if we don’t do it, we may not have a job. I’ve had the 24/7 jobs which include weekends and holidays and I know how hard it is to pull away. I’ve also experienced that when you leave those jobs, which seemed so important at the time, you are replaced, and the work carries on successfully without you. Our work is valuable, but we are not so indispensible that we cannot take a break.
I pray the American worker will find rest from their work, especially during these trying times. I pray that each of us will know how valuable we are to God regardless of what we do for a living. God is a good and generous provider. God never oppresses us, rather the Lord has set the captives free. God has an enormous retirement package waiting for us in eternity.
If you like this message, please sign up for the Anchored Newsletter at www.anchoredtochrist.org. This month's message is about finding rest in a stressed out world.