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Labor Day service Uncategorized work works

Labor Day

(Bulletin Preview)

Neal Pollard

Tomorrow, most of us will be able to celebrate the Labor Day Holiday. That means, ironically, that most of us will have a day off from–well–labor. Schools and workplaces across the nation will shut their doors and many will be off for their last “summer vacation.” Friday, an anticipated 3 million passengers took to the friendly skies to enjoy the long weekend. We can either thank Peter McGuire or Matthew Maguire for being the mastermind of this holiday, both secretaries for New York labor unions who made significant efforts to recognize a day for American workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor has published a lot of useful information about this holiday, which it states was started as a “national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country” (dol.gov). It was a local observance in the northeast at the height of the Industrial Age, though Oregon was the first state to pass statewide legislation to observe the holiday. That same year, 1887,  Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York followed suit. In 1894, Congress made it a legal holiday to be celebrated the first Monday of September. 

In the early days, there were picnics, street parades, speeches by prominent men and women, and “Labor Sunday” which was “dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement” (ibid.). The first parade, in New York City in 1882, had up to 20,000 marchers as well as “Windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames…occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization” (ibid.).

I find it interesting that we honor work with a day of rest and that the holiday itself has seen a shift in emphasis and expression. That’s neither a complaint or criticism. I intend to enjoy Labor Day with Kathy, taking the vacation day given to me in my working agreement. 

But, as we celebrate this national holiday, it’s fitting to recognize the hard work done by so many in this congregation. When you teach Bible classes, lead in worship, decorate bulletin boards, provide transportation to services, stock our pantry, do work on our facilities, engage in soul-winning efforts, practice hospitality, serve officially as church leaders (whether elders, deacons, or someone else tasked with some work), prepare the communion, clean the kitchen, organize the teacher’s work room, go on mission trips, make visits, handle church finances, coordinate worship, serve as ushers and greeters, host youth devotions, or the many, many other things you do, you are doing honored work. Jesus taught that greatness comes through service (Mat. 20:25-28; Jn. 13:12-17). New Testament writers honored those who work among us, Paul urging us not to “be weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9) and to “always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58, NIV). Often, Scripture speaks of the Godhead working. It instructs us to be “to the work.” Enjoy the holiday tomorrow. Yet, in the general, ongoing sense, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4). Labor on, brothers and sister!

labor_day_new_york_1882

Categories
Christian duty Christian living Christianity involvement Uncategorized work

Christian, Who Are You?

Neal Pollard

  • You Are An Insurance Agent—Life (Philippians 2:16), Health (cf. 1 Peter 2:24), and Fire (2 Peter 3:9-10).
  • You Are A Tour Guide (1 Peter 2:9; Acts 8:31).
  • You Are A Soldier (Ephesians 6:10ff; 2 Timothy 2:1-3).
  • You Are A Slave (Romans 6:17).
  • You Are A Firefighter (Jude 23).
  • You Are An Ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20).
  • You Are A Priest (Revelation 1:6).
  • You Are A Conductor (2 Corinthians 2:14; 9:11).
  • You Are A Day Laborer (John 9:4; cf. Matthew 20:1ff).
  • You Are A Farmer (2 Timothy 2:6; Luke 8:5).
  • You Are A Fisherman (Matthew 4:19).
  • You Are A Gem Distributor (Colossians 1:27).
  • You Are A Taste Tester (Colossians 4:6; Hebrews 5:14).
  • You Are Royalty (Revelation 1:5-6).
  • You Are A Student (2 Timothy 2:15).
  • You Are A Body-Builder (Ephesians 4:16).
  • You Are A Restorer (James 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1).
  • You Are A Physician’s Assistant (Hebrews 12:12-13; cf. Mark 2:17).
  • You Are A Standard-Bearer (Philippians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:13).
  • You Are A Builder (1 Corinthians 3:10).
  • You Are A Judge (John 7:24; 1 Corinthians 6:2).
  • You Are A Nutritionist (1 Timothy 4:6).
  • You Are A Maintenance Worker (Phlippians 2:2; Titus 3:8,14, KJV).
  • You Are A Cleaner (2 Timothy 2:21; James 4:8).
  • You Are A Runner (1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 2:2; 5:7; etc.).
  • You Are A Boxer (1 Corinthians 9:26).

I’d be amazed if I did not leave out several of our job titles and descriptions. Suffice it to say that there is plenty of work for all of us to do. The next time we find ourselves figuratively twiddling our spiritual thumbs, wondering how we can be involved, let’s draw from the exhaustive inventory of tasks the Lord has left us!  Remember, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Col. 3:23).

laborer

Categories
lazy

WHO IS A SLUGGARD?

Neal Pollard

The slothful or sluggard man is condemned many times in Proverbs. God treats laziness with contempt. God says the sluggard is so lazy he buried his hand in his food and won’t even bring it back up to his mouth (Prov. 19:24; 26:15)! Since he knows all the answers, he has no need for work (cf. Prov. 26:16). Notice how Proverbs describes him.
HE HAS NO INITIATIVE (Prov. 6:6-11). He lacks the ambition to work, the foresight to plan, and the desire to provide necessities. He is the one who constantly needs a fire lit under him. He cannot conceive of the idea of being a “self-starter.” No doubt, he has difficulty finding and keeping employment. He constantly seeks out the easy way. He is lethargic. A Christian should never lack determination, for there is great purpose in Christ and His love should motivate us to act (Gal. 5:6).
HE’S UNRELIABLE AND IRRESPONSIBLE (Prov. 10:26). He cannot be entrusted with a task. His word means little. His effort is sub par. The verse says, “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.” Are there ever sluggards in the church, who promise involvement, pledge support, talk up church plans, but never or irregularly produce? They make promises, but people quickly learn not to expect of them. The sluggard forgets that his or her words mean something (cf. Matt. 12:36-37). Too, Jesus says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16,20).
HE HAD RATHER WISH THAN WORK (Prov. 13:4). He is long on cravings, short on diligence. Therefore, he spends his life in a dream world. Someone said, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.” The lazy man is a poor steward of his time (Eph. 5:16) and his mind. Dreams alone are vanity (cf. Ecc. 5:7).
HE WANTS BENEFIT WITHOUT INVESTMENT (Prov. 20:4). He wants something for nothing. This proverbs says that the sluggard goes hungry because he won’t hitch up the team in plowing season. He wants to eat, but he doesn’t want to work for it. Paul suggests that such should not be allowed a spot at the dinner table (cf. 2 Thess. 3:11-12). What about churches that want growth without evangelism? Or individuals who want success without self-discipline? Anything worthwhile requires effort!
There may be a bit of sluggard in us all. The tendency to slough off is often tempting. The devil will surely use idleness to try and defeat the cause of Christ. What sagacity is found in doing with all the might what the hand finds to do (Ecc. 9:10)!