Well, we are nearly at the end of summer. Technically, we are still several weeks away from the official start of fall, but Labor Day has traditionally marked the end of summer vacation, just as Memorial Day announces the arrival of summer. These two holidays seem to be bookends that frame our summer activities with massive celebrations.
Both the beginning of summer, and its end, seem to be celebrated by grilling and outdoor activities. We are just around the corner from getting started with football season, fall activities and the beauty of the leaves as they start to turn into deep reds, oranges and yellows.
No question about it, fall is my favorite time of year! Usually, our family gets together to have a cook-out but this year, we are all pretty busy and doing our own thing, so I have been asked to smoke some ribs for the entire family. Bear in mind that our family LOVES baby back ribs and so I ordered ten slabs that we picked up earlier today after church. Monday will be a busy day – that’s a bunch of meat to cook but I assure you that it will be worth the effort. If there is one thing everyone loves, it’s when I spend time smoking something awesome for a celebration.
While we all love a chance to get together, it is important to also celebrate Labor Day. We have all been through tremendous upheaval the last several years with COVID and folks are just now returning to their offices. In fact, there is quite a bit of pushback about going back to work in an office. However, new statistics confirm that production increases 28% when people report to an office to put in their time.
There are fewer distractions and things are more organized and disciplined. Of course, we have become spoiled the last several years and there are many people who are deciding if they want to drop out of the workforce rather than return to an on-site work environment.
What some of us don’t understand is that younger people may have to work more than four extra years past traditional retirement age to make up for time that they were unemployed during their higher earning years. That’s a shame but loyalty, by both employers and also employees, is also on the decline and most people will have far more jobs in their careers than their parents and grandparents had.
I have been one of the fortunate ones who has been able to work out of our home for more than 22 years – I would hate to have to report to an office. Thankfully, short of some catastrophe, we should never have to face that prospect as we have been disciplined and dedicated to setting aside funds for our retirement – in direct opposition to the current trends in the U.S. Fearfully, only a very small percentage of people can even survive more than six months without work – they live on the edge…
What is very important to understand, from a Christian perspective, is that our faith and dedication to Christ is bigger than our earthly employers. We think too small – how do we get a different job, make more money, work less, achieve life balance and all the other things that we hear about being the dreams of an idyllic life.
But the truth of the matter is that we ultimately, as Christians, serve God – our ultimate employer. And I am convinced that every job we have prepares us for our next assignment. Similarly, I think that we learn something from each thing we do, and God does not move us on to our next assignment until we have successfully accomplished whatever we were supposed to learn in our current position.
Admittedly, this takes an act of faith, but I firmly believe that our responsibility is to do the work we are assigned – and leave the result to God. Thats not our domain – we can’t control the outcome – only the commitment we have to do our best.
Our verse for tonight is from Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse. Paul tells his church, and us, in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Get it? We work for God… we are His ambassadors. My encouragement this evening is that one of the ways we are to represent the kingdom of God is by always giving our best effort in the workplace. My prayer is that we will give it our best shot, and that Labor Day this year will be a wonderful reminder of who we actually work for! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…