While we call it "Labor Day," we try to do as little labor as possible & most working people have the day off.
Labor Day is different to different people.  To the factory or office worker, it may be a day off. But for train dispatchers, pilots, firemen, etc. it’s just another workday.
To farmers & ranchers, it’s just another day to feed the cattle & work in the field.
For policemen, who must deal with extra heavy traffic & alcohol abuse, it’s a tough day.
I suppose one reason we have Labor Day is because we seem to need a holiday every few months or so.
It is the end of summer.  School is starting.  Vacations are over & it's time to put your nose to the grindstone, & your shoulder to the wheel once again.
As a preacher, I could just ignore it, but after all, our work occupies much of our thinking & dominates many of our conversations.  Work dictates where we will live & often determines many of our friendships.  And our work often influences our relationship with others.

The work we do is a very important part of our life. So I want to look at a couple of Scriptures this morning that deal with work.
The first one is Colossians 3:23-24.  "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."

     The first is the nature of work.  "What is the nature of work?"
 The world tells us that work is a struggle to climb up the ladder of success to gain as much of the world's status & power as we can.
But Paul tells us to consider our work as a service to God.  Regardless of what we do we are to serve God in the work that we perform.
If we look at work that way, it will dispel the idea of judging people by the
kind of work that they do.

               Secondly, we ask this question:  What is the purpose of work?  

Our answer will depend upon how we answered the first question.  If you answered the first question by saying, "The nature of work is a struggle to climb the ladder of success."  Then your answer to the 2nd question will be, "The purpose of work is to make money & accumulate the things of the world."
But if you answered the first question by saying, "The purpose of work is to serve God."  Then the answer to the second question is different as well.

Paul gives us an answer to that question in Ephesians 4:28. He says, “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.”
Do you know what Paul is saying?  He is saying, "The purpose behind work is not to accumulate possessions, but the purpose behind our work is to meet needs."  
Paul is not saying, "Don't make a profit."  He is not saying that at all.  The Bible never discourages making a profit.  In fact, the Bible teaches that it is wise to make more money than you spend.  That is just good common sense.  It is important that we make a profit.
But the Bible discourages hoarding & greed & covetousness & the worship of things.  Paul is saying, "The purpose in our working is that we might have money to support ourselves & our families & those who are in need."

The last question is this, "What is the result of our work?"

Work is important, & from the moment He made Adam & Eve God gave them work to do, but work in & of itself cannot fully satisfy.
But we think it can, because we identify with what we do.  "Who are you?" we ask.  The answer is, "I am a lawyer, or, I am a doctor, or I am a preacher, or I am the president of a company."  We are what our work is, & if we do something worthwhile we feel we are worth something.
 There are more important things than our daily work. More important than anything else is our relationship to Christ.  
If we gain the whole world & lose our soul, what have we gained?
If we lay up treasures that rust & rot away, & have no treasure in heaven, what have we gained?

I like steeples on church buildings.  One of the reasons I like them is because you can see them from afar.  You can see them in the midst of trees & roof tops & in the midst of a busy community.
They stand like beacons pointing toward heaven saying, "This is God’s home. God is taking care of His people.”
I like them because in the midst of everything else, it marks a place where Jesus is proclaimed, reminding people as they make their way to work that there is something even more important & eternal.

God is here, & He offers a meaning & a purpose to life which we will never be able to find anywhere else.
And we are His children! Our lives mean so much more than some worldly title, because God has given us the ability to help others, and guide them to follow Christ!

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