Message summary: The Bible consistently presumes work with teaching such as “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). Our work is an expression of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
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“Six days you shall labor and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9). “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them'” (Revelation 14:13).
Today is Labor Day here in America although few pay much attention to the theme of labor. Most probably see it as a day off and the last official holiday of the summer. We actually plan to do some labor around our home today and then have a cookout with friends this evening.
Last week I read an article titled “The Meaning of Life in a World without Work” by Yuval Noah Harari. The basic premise was that with new technology the need for labor will cease for many and a new class will develop which he calls the “useless class”. The article postulates this will work out though, since there will be universal basic income! People’s basic needs will be met but the problem will be dealing with the sense of purposelessness the useless class will have.
Harari believes the answer to this sense of purposelessness lies in living in a world of virtual reality, essentially playing video games in a fantasy world. The article seems a bit loony to me but is probably indicative of the way many millennials think. The article also manages to disparage faith in a stunning way, essentially equating people who have faith as living in virtual reality similar to a game and making some of the most ridiculous analogies imaginable. (Link to article below)
However I did agree with Harari in the sense that work is a necessary component in providing purpose in life. As a chaplain to the workplace I often remind employees of that which they do in their work is making the world a better place. Often they can be so focused on the part they are designing or making that they lose focus on the bigger picture and the purpose of their end product. I recall such a conversation with Shawn, a man who writes computer code all day, which certainly takes a certain aptitude! His work is so much in the weeds that he can easily forget what it’s all about and he told me he appreciated my perspective on how what he is doing is actually beneficial to others.
The fourth commandment is best known for the command to rest on the Sabbath Day. But there’s another often overlooked command in that commandment, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work”. God has ordained work has an expression of His divine character and He modeled work for us at the Creation: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them”.
The Bible consistently presumes work with teaching such as “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). Our work is an expression of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Finally, today let us briefly consider a future place where there will be no more labor (at least as we know it now), a place we will rest from our labors. But we are not in that place yet and I expect God will have plenty for us to do that will bring fulfillment and blessing. But until that glorious transformation takes place let us all see our work as a way to honor God, to provide for our monetary needs, and as a means of blessing others!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we thank You for our labor by day and rest by night. From the beginning of time you raised up laborers who were skilled in various trades: construction workers, artisans, jewel cutters, bakers, instrumentalists, designers, seamstresses, and on and on the list goes for that which You have equipped people to do right on down to working with our modern technology so relied upon today. We thank You for those who labor on our behalf and we thank You for those whom we labor for. It’s in both giving and receiving that we have various duties and receive multiple blessings for which we are thankful. Amen.