Devotion and Prayer for Week of September 2, 2012

Meditation for the Week of September 2, 2012 

Labor Day – A God Thing?

This past weekend the United States celebrated the Labor Day holiday.  The vast majority of businesses were closed and workers had a paid day off.  And coming at the end of summer, it is a great weekend for family gatherings, Bar-b-cues and picnics.  Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. By 1894, 28 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

But labor certainly didn’t begin with the industrialized nations of the world.  Labor has it origins and beginnings where everything else came into being; back at the very beginning of time, back in the Garden of Eden. If we go back to Genesis Chapter 1 we find that on 3rd day of Creation God created plant life. “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it according to their various kinds.”  And if we look to day five, we see that God filled the sea with living creatures and birds filled the air.  Then on day six there is much more: “livestock, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals” and then there is that wonderful creation of man made in the image of God.

Notice what command God gave to the man and the woman he created.  “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  Very simply God made Adam and Eve the care takers, the farmers, the workers to manage the plants and animals God placed on this earth.  So labor begin with the creation of the world and all that is in it.

Notice God even knew enough to create a Labor Day holiday. Except that he termed it a day of rest. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)

So as we think about the Labor Day holiday just past, we should really be reflecting on the wonderfulness and greatness of God’s creation. But we should also marvel at a God who was smart enough to recognize that rest and relief from work would be an important part of his plan. So much so that, from the beginning of time, God created the opportunity, for his creations, man and woman, to rest.  But not only that but that this day would be a holy day (read that holiday) dedicated to God and his creation.  It is worth remembering that we have an awesome and great God who knows what is good for his creations and that we would be wise to listen to him and follow his plan for life.


Our Weekly Prayer

Mighty God, Creator, Father, we stand in awe of your creation.  How all things that we need were created and placed on earth, just where we needed them and how they together were to sustain and create life.  May we always strive to be good stewards of that which you have given us authority and responsibility to govern for You. Bless all those who labor and work, especially those who labor and work to spread the Good News of your Son Jesus Christ. We praise you for your goodness in creating a day of rest from our labors, a day dedicated and made holy to you.  We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen