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Monday, September 05, 2016

Labor Day, 2016

Labor Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday in September. We think of it as a celebration of labor, of the work that has made our nation great. Unfortunately, that isn't entirely accurate.

According to the United States Department of Labor, Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement. That is, Labor Day came about to celebrate not merely the laborers of America, but to celebrate union labor. It was proposed by Mr. McGuire of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and executed in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. It included a parade to exhibit "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations." It would most accurately be called "Labor Union Day".

Of course, very few know that anymore and most people simply view it as a celebration of American workers. That's fine. I think it's a little odd that we celebrate workers by not working, but, hey, this is America and we don't have to make sense, right?

I think that it is a good thing to celebrate labor since it was God's idea. A lot of Christians don't seem to realize this. They think that labor was part of the curse when Adam sinned, but what we read in Scripture is "Cursed is the ground because of you" and "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground" (Gen 3:17, 19). Work was not the curse. Hard work was. If you recall, the first thing God did before He even made Eve was to give Adam work (Gen 2:19-20) and together they were tasked with "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Gen 1:28) No, work was God's idea ... God's good idea (Gen 1:31). So we ought to celebrate labor.

Maybe, while we're lounging around today doing as little as possible, we might remember to thank God for the work He has provided. He thought it was a good idea.

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