Summary: This sermon is about viewing the daily pains of our life as a sign of the birth of a new life occurring.
"Labor Pains" - Romans 8:18-28
-Rev. A. L. Torrence
Pastor of the Cross of Life Lutheran Church
Labor Day Weekend- for most of us, this is a time we attempt to get in that last summer vacation, that last barbecue or picnic, or that last major department store sale. The holiday also signals the ending of summer and the beginning of fall. Labor Day in the year 2000 has come to mean many different things to many different people. However, Labor Day was intended as day to pay tribute to the American worker. It is holiday that is not connected with any conflicts, battles, civil wars, or victories. No, it is a day whereby the American nation says thank you to all those who have contribute to its economy, strength, and prosperity. Whether you a part-time dishwasher or surgical room scrubs nurse – Labor Day is your day. You may be homemaker to an employed spouse or an entrepreneur setting your own hours- labor day is still your day. The poet, Maya Angelou, penned a poem entitled, “Worker’s Song” which seems to capture the spirit of Labor Day. She writes,
“Big ships shutter down to the sea because of me. Railroads run on a twin-ness track ‘cause of my back. Woppa! Woppa! Woppa! Woppa! Cars stretch to a super length ‘cause of my strength. Planes fly high over season lands, ‘cause of my hands. Woppa! Woppa! Woppa! Woppa! I wake, start the factory humming, I work late keep the whole world running. And I got something, something coming, coming! Woppa! Woppa! Woppa!”
By the sweat of your brow, and the toil of your labor, America has built her wealth and power on your backs. Thus, for one day out of 365, Labor Day celebrates the fact that you work. In fact, if the truth were told, America has a desire for you to do more work. Companies have gone to great lengths to make the work environment more comfortable and attractive to its employees. That’s why we now see fitness rooms, childcare centers, and gourmet cafes being installed at the workplace. Dress codes have become more relaxed with the ideology that a comfortable and happy employee is a productive employee.
Now, for many of us, our motives for working may not be Marxist in nature. That’s is we are not driven to work in order that America will be great. No, our reasons are to pay bills, maintain a comfortable lifestyle, or to capture that American myth of a nice home, car, and family. We work because we have to work. The gross national product of US is not a part of our agenda. Reducing the national deficit or the rate of inflation is not the motivational factor for waking up early and going to bed late. No, we realize that in order to have some of the good life or any life worth living, we must do what all the descendants of Adam and Eve have done since the beginning of humanity. We will have to (work) or labor in order to survive. God’s words to Adam were, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat of the plants of field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground.”
The fact of the matter is that as Christians, we are no longer under that curse. However, for many of us, there are times when we feel that everything we touch turns to slop. We work all day and night to only get thorns and thistles. We live just to pay bills, never having a little extra to save. You see, there seems to always be an emergency expense – children get sick, or something around the house breaks down – you know that one thing that not’s cover by warranty or a maintenance agreement. I mean, we can never get ahead. Come on, now can we be real with each other? There are times when we ask the question, “How come it seems that everything I do, has to be a struggle, when others seem to do it so easily?” We may have to work twice as hard to get the same paycheck that our co-workers get. We may have to study twice as long to earn that “B” in math that someone else’s got with just one night of cramming. We may have to get a second job just to make ends meet. Some of us may have even had to get married a second time, just to get it right. For some of us, life seems to be filled with constant struggle and disappointment. We feel that we continually come up short. We take two steps forward only having to take three back. Our life does not seem to be producing any good thing. Your question is like that of Brother Job: Lord, why me? What is it that I have done or have not done to bring these problems in my life? Why does it seem that I am head downward into endless spiral? Now, we dealing with a spirit of frustration and anger. We are snapping at people, easily provoked. And we can’t seem to figure out why all of this pain and hard labor is happening to us.