Summary: What does the sabbath have to do with labor?

Thoughts about Labor:

¡ñ One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.

"You aren’t going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!"

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?"

"Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman’s answer.

"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, "You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!"

"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said.

"And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. "Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!"

Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?"

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!"

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I’m doing right now?"

This story illustrates an attitude that the world teaches us that we have to get all we can and can all we get. And yet, Jesus asks a hard question¡­.

¡°What profit good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?¡± (Mt 16:26)

We labor for things that perish, and God urges us to labor for things that last forever.

What is Labor

a. Labor is a vital element of human life.

i. Labor is what we put our creative energies into to achieve some sort of result

1. In the industrialized or the capitalistic world, we exchange our time, talents and energy for income.

2. In fact, employers pay us ¡°wages¡± which we EARN in exchange for our labor.


ii. The Book of Genesis says that in the beginning "there was not a man to till the ground" (Gen. 2:5). Having created the Garden of Eden, God put man in it "to work it and to take care of it" (Gen. 2:15).

iii. We don¡¯t do it only to eat and pay our bills

iv. We don¡¯t do it because we are not rich enough to pay someone else to do it.

v. We do it because it is a necessary and natural part of our life.

1. We were created to labor.

2. If we only had recreation, our recreation would become eventually become work.

3. Some of you might be saying¡­nah, if I could only retire¡­.

4. But I have talked with retirees who say they have never been busier¡­.

5. The problem that many people have about laboring isn¡¯t always about the concept of work, it is often about what kind of work they ¡°HAVE¡± to do.


b. Labor was meant to be for the creative fulfillment of man who was called to be a co-creator and co-worker of God as a result of being made in His image and likeness.

i. Recall my sermon a few weeks back on the Nature of Man: That we possess a Godly imprint that leaves its ¡°Creative mark¡± upon us. We are driven by it to be creative.

c. After man sinned in the Garden of Eden and fell away from his Creator, the nature of his labor changed:

i. "In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, until you return to the ground" (Gen. 3:19).

ii. The creative component of labor weakened and became instead, a means of sustenance.

1. And for in much of the world, sustenance, just meeting the daily needs of life is what people labor to do.

iii. In America, we have achieved such a standard of living that few of us understand what it means to have to labor or else starve.

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