Building Bridges, Issue 18, September 4, 2020
September 04, 2020 by John Maurice
“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
WORK: JOB OR JOY? This Monday is Labor Day, a legal holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. Labor Day is a celebration in honor of the working class. The day was first suggested by Peter McGuire, founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and was initiated in the United States in 1882 with a parade in New York City. In 1884 the group held a parade on the first Monday of September and passed a resolution to hold all future parades on that day and to designate the day as Labor Day. In 1894 the U.S. Congress made the day a legal holiday.
Ever the humorist Mark Twain once quipped, “I do not like work even when someone else does it.” Think about your work for a moment. Is it a job or a joy?
On my birthday last month my wife jokingly reminded me that if I retired I would be eligible to begin receiving social security. I began working at the age of ten when my grandmother bought me a lawnmower. I walked door to door asking neighbors if I could mow their lawn. I worked in a drug store, had construction jobs, served as a church pastor, completed a twenty-four-year military career, and now serve in the area of higher education. For fifty-two years I have enjoyed my work and found it to be a source of joy.
For many people work is seen as a form of drudgery or something that must be endured, not enjoyed. Even among Christians are some who regard work with a negative attitude. Some view work as the curse inflicted upon mankind because of sin (they often cite Genesis 3:17-19). But Adam and Eve were working prior to the fall. In Genesis 2:15 we read, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
Work, like everything else we do, must be done to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). Through our work we can honor him with our character, example, words, and deeds. Seeing our work as a way of bringing glory to God will motivate us to do our best. William Bennett in The Book of Virtues wrote, “Life’s greatest joys are not what one does apart from the work of one’s life, but with the work of one’s life. Those who have missed the joy of work, or a job well done, have missed something very important.”
Happy Labor Day! Let’s go to work.