Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day: It's About Work

My Dad always took a somewhat dim view of Labor Day. Falling at the peak of the tobacco harvest, Labor Day happens during the season of maximum effort in the fields and tobacco barns. Housing tobacco is not a task that can be easily accomplished by one person. Dad's view of Labor Day was made no brighter by the fact that on the day after all of his teen aged helpers would disappear into the bowels of the education system and become unavailable except for the hours between school and dark. Most of Dad's helpers, my friends, were also unavailable on Labor Day as they did things with their families who were not tobacco growers. I wanted to be like my friends. Dad's answer to my requests for Labor Day off was always the same. "Labor Day means it's a day extra hard labor." And, although we usually quit early so I could be ready for school the next morning, we spent most of the day working hard. Over the years, I have come to realize that Dad was right even if I'm still not sure that the best way to celebrate Labor day is by working. Labor Day should celebrate work. Labor -- work -- is required for human survival. And, whether we choose to admit it or not, labor -- work -- is also required for human fulfilment. If God created Man and placed him in the garden "to dress it and to keep it," then we are made to work. Scripture tells us that work did not become a burden until man sinned and, in punishment, God cursed the ground so that it would produce its fruit only as a result hard work. "By the sweat of your brow you shall eat your bread," He said. So this Labor Day, I choose to celebrate work -- the work I do and all of the honourable and productive work that other people do. Work: it's part of a full life. "This is the Gospel of labor. Peal forth, ye bells of the Kirk! For the Lord of Love Came down from above To live with men who work. And this is the seed that He planted, Here in this thorn-curs'd soil. Heaven is blessed with eternal rest; The blessing of life is toil." Have a great Labor Day. Celebrate work!