As I began preparing for the sermon last week, I thought of labor day and began to wonder, “what is the work of the Christian?” I was thinking about how sometimes on Sundays it is overlooked the work you all do throughout the week. Sometimes, pastors can view our own work as “holy,” and because of that we think our work is more holy than what others may be doing.
As we think about labor, what is the labor of a Christian? What does it mean to work or to labor for us as Christian people? I think Paul gives us some idea in Romans 12: 9-21 when he told us to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves… Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” As Christians, our labor is a labor of love. The phrase “labor of love.” Our job, indeed, your job is important, your work is holy because it is the work of God. Your work, our labor as Christians is to love every one around us.
If you have ever been in a store where the employees are happy, it makes a difference. When the employees are happy, they seem to do better work and their labor seems less like labor than it does love. I think of Trader Joe’s for this. If you have ever been in this grocery store, you will see how happy all the employees are and the entire atmosphere is pleasant and enhances the shopping experience. I have asked employees on occasion how the store manages to hire such happy people and the most common response goes something like: “Trader Joe’s treats us REAALLLY well! It is hard to not be happy when you are treated so well.”
We are laborers of the kingdom, the ultimate boss. We have no choice but to love what we do, to revere our work, we are employees in the best company you will ever know!
The point I am trying to make today is that the labor you all do is so crucial. Your work is holy. As Christians, we must believe that wherever God has called us, in all things He wants to use us for His kingdom. 1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us that we must be confident our labor for Christ will not go in vain. We have confidence that all we do, all our labor that comes from our love for Christ is important, it holy.
This labor day, think about yourself as an employee of the kingdom of God. Your call is to love God with all your heart and the result of that will be obedience to whatever he calls you to. Romans 12 tells us that our work is feeding and giving drink to even our enemies. No matter what you do, if you think about yourself as an employee of God’s, if you know that you are a child of God, then your labor is one of love. Your labor is important to the kingdom. Your desire to labor is crucial. We can have confidence, can rest assured that as we love God, His Kingdom will come, his will will be done.
As we do the work God has called us to do, think about this short poem on labor:
Love is our labor, love is life.
We must work together in love, we must live together in love.
Life is love. Work, labor is life.
Your labor, whatever it may be, whatever you do, it matters.
Your love for others, your doing good, sharing with those in need, practicing hospitality, is love.
It is important. You are important.
It is labor, it is Christ, it is love.
Take up your cross.
The labor you are called to is love, our labor is love. We are love.
We are the laborers of the greatest love.”