So, what did you do on Labor Day? As folks were leaving worship on Sunday, I asked them if they had plans for Labor Day. Most folks shared that they really had nothing out of the ordinary planned. One person even shared that when his wife had told him that Labor Day was this past weekend, he assured her it was still weeks off -- until he realized it really was this past weekend! I know some folks took off Friday and turned it into a long, four-day weekend. Good for them. Our family low-keyed it -- taking it easy throughout the day and grilling out steaks for dinner.
Labor Day does give us a time to reflect on the gift of work. We all need work, or access to the rewards of work, in order to live. During the pandemic, there are many whose work was negatively affected and who longed for some way to support themselves. Now it seems like there's a shortage of workers in many areas. As Protestant Christians, we have a tradition of valuing work. We've all heard the phrase “the Protestant work ethic” which comes from valuing the goodness of human labor. So, I invite you to be grateful for whatever work has been given to you throughout your life.
But I also want to encourage you to take Sabbath rest on a regular basis. You need it, we all do. And we can trust that God can run the world without us for one day a week. As we are reminded from the creation story, God puts a limit to our work. This is not some arbitrary rule God imposes, but a way to add balance, wholeness, and health to our lives. Human beings were never created to work seven days a week. In one of the most interesting parts of the creation story, God chooses to limit God’s own activity so that God rests on the seventh day! So, if God rests on the Sabbath from God's labors, who are we to think that we can get away with anything less?