Summary: when we do all our work as unto the Lord, weï¿½re working for our real boss - a message on our work and our faith
Your Real Boss
Labor Day at TCF
September 6, 2009
I heard a story the other day about a homeless man who walked up to the front door of a big house, and knocked on the door until the owner answered. He said, ï¿½Sir, could I please have something to eat? I havenï¿½t had a meal in days.ï¿½ The well-to-do owner of the house said, ï¿½I have made my fortune in the world by never giving anything away for free. If you go around to the back of the house, youï¿½ll find a fresh gallon of paint and a clean brush. Paint my porch and Iï¿½ll give you a good meal.ï¿½ The homeless man headed off to the back of the house. About an hour later he knocked on the front door. The homeowner was surprised. ï¿½Youï¿½re finished already? That was quick! Come on in and sit down, and Iï¿½ll have the cook bring you a meal.ï¿½ ï¿½Thank you, sir!ï¿½ the homeless man said. ï¿½I must tell you, though, you really donï¿½t know your cars. Thatï¿½s not a Porch back there. Itï¿½s a BMW."
Hereï¿½s a really loose connection, just so I could use that story to open this morning. The man with the big house valued work, and wanted the homeless man to value it too. And now, here we are on Labor Day weekend, and what do we do? Most of us take the day off of work on this day we have to honor the value of work and workers.
Someone must have forgotten to put up the Labor Day decorations here in our church. After all, itï¿½s Labor Day Eve, and many of us will be opening our Labor Day gifts tonight, while some others will probably wait until the morning. Have you gotten all your Labor Day cards out? And donï¿½t you just love listening to all the Labor Day carols?
Of course not. We donï¿½t think of Labor Day like many other holidays, do we? We donï¿½t really even mark this holiday for its original founding purpose ï¿½ it was made a national holiday in 1894, and its purpose was to honor Americaï¿½s workers, particularly those who worked for labor unions, and it had a labor union flavor from day one.
Today, we think of Labor Day as the three-day weekend that marks the last blast of summer for most people. The only trappings that we associate with Labor Day are not cards, gifts, songs or decorations ï¿½ itï¿½s more like sunscreen, beaches, and another day to sleep in. And of course, a day off of work. Itï¿½s not a good weekend for churches, either, because many people like to use this weekend as their last summer-weather getaway of the season,and so they get out of town.
Amazingly enough, even the greeting card companies, who manage to capitalize on almost anything else resembling a holiday, havenï¿½t quite figured out how to get people to want to send Labor Day cards to anyone.
So, thereï¿½s no real Christian reason to mark this particular holiday, but there is a very clear biblical reason to understand our labor, our work, and its relationship to our Lord, and our faith in Christ.
God cares about our work, whatever that may be, and He claims it as His own.
Colossians 3:22-24 (NIV) Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
At first glance, you might think, hey, that has nothing to do with our work, or our jobs in this day and age. Thatï¿½s all about slaves and masters. And yes, thatï¿½s the immediate context. But I donï¿½t think itï¿½s a stretch at all to say that, if Paul admonished slaves to do their work well and with sincerity of heart, and to do their work as working for the Lord and not for men, then how much more would that admonition apply to those of us who are being paid to do a job?
We can scarcely imagine the menial, demeaning and wretched tasks that such slaves did in these times. Yet, God himself regarded such work as being done for him.
So, though this passage was originally written to slaves and to their masters, Christ introduced both parties (slaves and their masters) to a higher dimension in their work, to an overriding set of obligations. Jesus Christ reminded them that He was Lord of their specific work environment. Neil Hood: Godï¿½s Payroll