The history of the beginning of the celebration of Labor Day is not widely known. In the late nineteenth century, working conditions were far different from what we have today. In the industrial world, men were working six days each week, and the workday was usually ten hours. At first, there was opposition for the idea of giving workers an extra paid day each year where they were honored for the work they were doing. There were actually riots with individuals being killed. However, the idea was finally accepted, and this week many will enjoy this day.
There are far too many who labor in America. I am not speaking of the hardship of earning a living which came about in the Garden of Eden as the result of sin (thorns and sweat), but about that which Christ offers to all mankind. “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). There is no need for Christians to carry the burden of the guilt of sin and the anxiety of worrying about food and clothing, for the Lord has promised His children freedom and rest from these burdens. Why would anyone not choose to follow Him?
There is labor for a reward which will never perish. “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27). He has taken our worldly burdens on Himself, but He has rewards awaiting us. The rest of His invitation mentioned in the previous paragraph says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” His yoke for us results in eternal life for each of us.
There is labor we do for Him, for we have been saved by His blood to do His work. Paul described this new relationship with God in these words, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). We are His hands, His eyes, His feet, and we stand in the place where Christ once stood to let our lights shine to lead others to Him.
There is labor for Him which we do every day. Hebrews chapter four described it this way. God gave the Jews the Sabbath as a day of rest since they had been slaves in Egypt (see Deut. 5:15), but He had something far better in mind for us, and that is a rest (a Sabbath) which awaits us in heaven. Think about these words, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God…Let us therefore labor to enter into that rest” (Heb. 4:9-11).
Let’s serve Him. Let’s labor for Him. Let’s labor for Him every day. For the time will come when we shall celebrate the real “Labor Day.”