There seems to be a sly irony in the fact that America celebrates “Labor Day” by taking a day off from work. Further, it is noteworthy that the introduction of “celebrating” labor by employing nonproduction was introduced by one or the other of two labor union big-wigs. Nevertheless, the tribute to our nation’s social and economic achievements usually consists of parades, celebrations and various other forms of recreational activities.
The Bible is not silent concerning the concept of labor. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and directed them to work: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). When ejected from the Garden, things did not change with regard to work, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19a). When the Israelites became a people, God commanded “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21a), the concept of work being an integral part of life for the Jew. Even in the New Testament church, the directive was clear: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, and herein lies the solution to our welfare system).
It seems clear that industry is essential to the human condition; it is not natural not to work. The “Life of Riley” was never in God’s plan for man. It is a fact, however, that an entitlement-mentality has inundated the American psyche to the degree
that many believe they are owed food, housing, and entertainment (!!!), and that all on the back of some government agency. Fewer and fewer seem to realize that there must be a funding mechanism behind the entitlement and that it is that poor working stiff who is suffering the fruits of his labor to be snatched away to privilege those who avoid working at all costs. “What a revoltin’ development this is!”
Jesus was not of this mentality, stating “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Paul’s admonition still has particular application to Christians today: “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). Church charity, not government entitlement, is the Bible way of supplying those in need. Let us labor, as did our Lord, and give as God intended.