Written by: Tim Wood
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, “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.” So that’s why you are getting a day off.
Jesus said something about labor that should cause us to stop and think. Jesus said the following about work, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him, God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:27-29).
Jesus’ exhortation is that we shouldn’t just work for food that perishes. Most people work for food, clothing, shelter, taking vacations, toys, college funds etc…All of those things perish. There is nothing wrong or sinful about working for those things. The Bible commends us for hard work and commands us to provide for our families. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). “If anyone does not provide for his family, he has denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5:8). Jesus is teaching that we put a lot of energy into putting food on our tables. But how much energy are we expending for spiritual food? Jesus calls it the food that endures to eternal life. The logical question was asked from the crowd, “What is the work that God requires?” I love Jesus’ answer. His answer is the essence of the Gospel. The work of God is to believe in the One that God has sent. Work at believing Jesus. We should labor to get His truth and wisdom and grace into your life.
J. C. Ryle wrote this in his commentary: “How are we to labor? There is but one answer. We must labor in the use of all appointed means. We must read our Bibles, like men digging for hidden treasure. We must wrestle earnestly in prayer, like men contending with a deadly enemy for life. We must take our whole heart to the house of God, and worship and hear like those who listen to the reading of a benefactor’s will. We must fight daily against sin, the world, and the devil, like those who fight for liberty, and must conquer, or be slaves. These are the ways we must walk in if we would find Christ, and be found of Him. This is “laboring.” This is the secret of getting on about our souls.” (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels).
Jesus gives us life that lasts forever. That is worthy of our best efforts and energy. That is worthy of our labor. And please, don’t take a day off in doing so!