Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day! Yeah Right!

Ok, so the American way is to celebrate a Holiday called Labor Day where people take a day off. If only that were as true across the board as it was intended to be. Labor Day weekend is really a reflection on hard working Blue Collar workers across American. It is not a spiritual holiday as such, but I would like to draw the word Labor out of the weekend and push it into our lives as it relates to laboring for the Lord.

In the N.T. in the NIV version there is 13 references to Labor. note them below:

Mt 6:28 -"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Lu 12:27 -"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Joh 4:38 -I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
1Co 3:8 -The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1Co 15:58 - Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Ga 4:27 -For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband."
Php 1:22 - If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
Php 2:16 -as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Col 1:29 - To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
1Th 1:3 -We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Th 5:3 - While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1Ti 4:10 - (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
Re 14:13 - Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

When I think of the word labor it just sounds like hard work. The biggest physical labor I usually have each fall is racking and dealing with a zillion leaves or building something on a missions trip. Laboring for the Lord however is not suppose to a burdensome like how it feels when labor out of duty or survival. When I have to rack the yard for 10 hours at some point, it feels like Labor even before I pick up the rack.

This past year I labored in helping roof our youth building that needed volunteer labor. It felt good when it was all done. I also helped labor some one day the following week to help another church in the community that also needed help volunteer labor on their roof. Since I was recently experienced at roofing I felt inclined to help. It was interesting how it seemed more of a LABOR to do our church roof ( probably because as pastor I knew it HAD to be done) then someone elses. That experience helped reminded me that serving the Lord and laboring for Him is suppose to be a Joy verses an obligation and a duty.
When we serve anyone including the Lord out of duty and obligation we shift from away from doing things for the glory of God to doing things as labors of works. We certainly do not want to get caught up in a book of James situation where we serve from works instead of by grace.

The difference between secular labor and spiritual Labor for the Lord is who gets the glory. When I roofed another brothers church roof and he thanked me, it made me feel good, but it really was giving God the glory. Since we are Gods servants out love then God should always get the Glory in all that we do. When God gets the glory our Labor for the Lord is a joy regardless of what the task is or how painful it might become to accomplish.

However, when we labor for others or God out of duty and obligation of payback mentality then we shift our from doing it out of Love and then it becomes burdensome. I am not sure how to get those forthcoming leaves up this fall out of love, but I will work on it.LOL! If you are inclined to come rack out of the Love of God I am ready to cheer you on.

Of all the verses noted above please pay special attention to this verse below. We are to Work by Faith leading to action by Love. The key to our serving Him is always Love and Faith. If we allow our reasons to serve Him to discinergrate into anything less, then we rob God of the glory and end up feeling burdened down. So on this labor day weekend reflect on what you do for God and re visit how you can labor for the Glory of God this fall and beyond.

1Th 1:3 -
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Enlist today as a Laborer for the Lord and you will live to enjoy the internal benefits as God receives all the external glory.

Pastor Peter