Labor Day is an annual tribute to the hard working American people. It’s very much appreciated. Most of us do work very hard, so being forced to take a day off of work is a welcome concept.
But I think we can find more in Labor Day than Uncle Sam intended. In forcing us to take a break from our work, Labor Day can serve as a much-needed reminder that work is not everything, that we are more than what we produce, that neither our souls nor our bodies find their entire significance in the workplace.
Many of us have a tendency toward workaholism. We feel the pressure to produce more and more, our priorities are out of place and we find ourselves climbing a ladder purely for the sake of getting higher, or the drive to get more comfortable and accumulate more stuff forces us to work unhealthy hours. Whatever the specific situation, workaholism is nothing more than idolatry. Whether we’re worshipping status, wealth, or productivity, we’re being pulled away from the true purpose of work and the proper object of worship.
When I wrote about the need to find God in the midst of a busy schedule awhile back, I talked about the painting “Office Deity” by John Feodorov. Painted in the style of an icon, “Office Deity” places the C.E.O. on the throne that would typically hold the Christ figure. The angels along the sides bear the accessories of the C.E.O.’s greatness. I love this painting because it is a potent symbol for our corporate idolatry.
So here’s the point. Most of us have the day off. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Be reminded that you are more than your job description says you are. Be thankful for the work you have and the ability God has given you to fulfill your duties. Be ready to re-enter your workplace with a passion to do your best for God’s glory and the blessing of the people you work for and with.
And in the meantime, celebrate your Labor Day with a heart that accepts the wonderful reality that God worked six days in creating the world and rested on the seventh. Embrace that embedded principle of rest and enjoy the time that God has given you to relax and enjoy the life He has blessed you with.