Labor Day

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Labor Day


All my life I’ve never fully understood Labor Day. As a child, I only knew it to be a national holiday where people didn’t have to work, and I didn’t have to go to school. As I got older, I realized a good number of people still had to work on that day. Another thing I noticed was a lot of people worked around their house if they did have a day off from their jobs. Labor Day seemed to truly be a day of labor, just in a different place. So, I decided to look up the origins of this holiday.


Labor Day is understood to have started in 1882 when one of the unions in New York City wanted to celebrate their members. They decided to have a parade on the first Monday in September and have their union members walk in the parade to be recognized and celebrated. They actually had to take a day off from work with no pay to be in this parade. Other unions and other cities liked the idea and began holding their own parades. Over the next decade, with many states adopting it as a holiday, many were promoting the idea of this being a national holiday to celebrate labor and workers. The president and lawmakers in Washington agreed. President Grover Cleveland signed an act to make the first Monday in September a federal holiday, calling it “Labor Day”, and it passed on June 28, 1894. Over the years, the parades of union workers fell to the wayside and it simply continued to be a holiday that gave people a day off, unless you had a job that didn’t recognize it as such. Along the way, it also became the official end of summer, so no more wearing your white summer vacation clothes.


A lot of folks like to take trips over the holiday weekend, going to the beach one last time before summer ends. But I usually just stay home. And I usually will try to not labor too much. Maybe a few odds and ends around the house, but nothing major. I like to try and make it a day of rest. Labor Day, as my son put it, should be called “No Labor Day”. Isn’t it supposed to be a day off from work? But in the truest sense of the holiday, it simply is meant to celebrate labor. It celebrates those who work. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have someone labor on a holiday celebrating labor? Yet, it’s the opposite. Because you labor, and laboring is good, then you can have a day off from labor.


To labor was what mankind was intended to do. Even in the Garden of Eden God gave Adam the job of taking care of the garden in which he was placed (Genesis 2:15). From then on, everyone was to labor in order to have food or provide for themselves and their families. God Himself set the example for the work week and then gave us instructions for us to continue in it. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, … For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” (Exodus 20:9-11) It is good for us to labor, to work. We should not complain about it or neglect it. We were created to work, to labor and earn a living. But, we are to take days of rest. And not just once a year, but once a week. We need our day of rest. We need time for our bodies to recuperate from our labors. We need time for our minds to rest from thinking about things. We don’t need to labor all the time. We need a day of rest.


I hope you had a good Labor Day and did what you needed to do. If you needed to rest, I hope you got rest. If you needed to labor, I hope you were able to accomplish what needed to be done. And may we all be actively working for the Lord in whatever way He has called us. We can also recall the old hymn that says:          “To the work! To the work! We are servants of God,

            Let us follow the path that our Master has trod;

            With the balm of His counsel our strength to renew,

            Let us do with our might what our hands find to do.

            Toiling on, toiling on, toiling on, toiling on;

            Let us hope, and trust, let us watch, and pray,

And labor till the Master comes.”


Bro. Paul Reed


Tuesday, September 6, 2022