Yes, we like to complain about it, but labor/work is a good for us! Think about this: Whenever we work, we are also exercising at the same time, so we are catching two birds at once! Otherwise we would all have to exercise as well, and that sometimes becomes more simply like work! Second, whenever we work or labor, we become the very reflection of God (putting to good use the Imago Dei within us). In the Book of Genesis it says “God worked…” for 6 days to establish creation and saw that “it was very good.” If it is good for God, maybe it’s good for us too! Truth is, when we actively engage in any kind of work, we are expressing in some way, our creative genius and are exercising our freedom and power to build (or to tear down in some cases). There is an inherent reward in this and a real sense of accomplishment for us.
For myself, whenever I have my day off and go to my farm or cabin, I have anywhere from a dozen to a half dozen things to do. When the day is finished, “Yes,” I feel tired and my bones hurt, but I also feel a deep satisfaction in what I did as I gaze upon it. This is not to pat myself on the back, but to take good pride in what I was able to accomplish. And, this is good!
In the past, when I was young boy growing up, it seemed my dad always had some especially big project for my brothers and I to do, specifically on Labor Day. At that time I didn’t like it at all, because I wanted to be with my friends on a boat or on a beach. Either that or it gave me more incentive to want to get back to school so I could at least get some rest! Yet, as I have grown older, I see more and more value and meaning behind our labors and the things we do. Now that my mother and dad have both passed away, I find myself tearing down what once, I helped them to build at the farm. As the Book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time and a season for everything under the sun…” When we work, I believe we activate something deeply spiritual inside and so are able to participate in the mystery of our God.
This Labor Day Weekend, may we all take some time to work, to accomplish something, and then pause to reflect upon the many blessings, large and small, that we have. After all, the only thing worse than having too much to do, is having nothing to do at all!
Words to live by: “The highest reward for our labors is not what we get for it, but what we become by it.”