First, we are to work unto the Lord in our labors. Colossians 3:23 says, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. We may have a earthly master (or boss) but ultimately we are working for our heavenly Master.
Second, work is valuable. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 to: Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. He also warns in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
The Proverbs talk about the importance and benefits of work. Proverbs 12:11 says: He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense. Proverbs 13:4 says: The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made fat. And Proverbs 14:23 says: In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.
The Greeks and Romans looked upon manual work as a menial task that was only for slaves (or else for people of lower class). The biblical view of work changed that ancient view because work and labor were combined with the idea of vocation and calling.
These ideas were reinforced in the Middle Ages through the gild movement and even expanded during the Reformation. Martin Luther, for example, taught that all work can be done for the glory of God. John Calvin taught that all should work because they were to serve as God’s instruments on earth. This led to what today is called the Protestant work ethic.
Let’s use this Labor Day to teach and reinforce biblical ideas of work.
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service
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