What are we laboring for?
“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”- U.S. Department of Labor
As the 19th century waxed old, a new century dawned, full of hope and promise. Farmers left the subsistence lifestyle of the farm and headed for the city and the industry it promised. They traded work for wage. The economy of exchange. For many the days of sitting on the front porch in the evening watching the corn grow became a distant memory. The whistle of the factory and the chime of the clock domineeringly dominated the day. The rhythm of life is exchanged for the cadence of the clock.
What are we laboring for?
My children and I are studying 20th century world history beginning with delving into the late 1800s as a spring board. This explains my historical burp. Labor day has always just been a holiday for my kids, a rest, a picnic, a day off of school. I interrupted their break day to have a five minute history lesson in context with our recent studies. My kids have always lived in an exchange economy- dad works for a salary- we spend the salary on housing, food, clothing, entertainment and education.
What fruit is our labor producing? The idea of being totally sustainable is not a totally foreign concept to them. Grandpa beef-farmer grows a healthy garden, Grandma cans the produce and we enjoy sharing in the bounty of canned pears, beans and the like. Grandma and Grandpa labored to feed and house four children. They heat their home via two large woodburners, a labor in itself. They serve hearty meals to sustain labor-weary bodies. There is a rhythm to farm life.
As I pondered the word ‘labor’ this morning and taught my short history lesson, I thought- What am I laboring for? What is the fruit does the frenzied hurried standard American life produce? Exhaustion? Where is the Lord? Does he fit into all of this? Do we have time to examine his creation? Watch the sunset? Read the Psalms?
“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from living well…For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.”- John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted
The leap from labor to hurry is not a not a considerable chasm. We labor to do the best for our families for various reasons. We sign up for sports to work the body and add discipline. We participate in church activities because they are good (right?). This morning I redid the whiteboard calendar and filled it to the brim with September dates and thought, why? What can I cut out? What is worth the hurry? What should I spend my labor on? If God’s hand is not in it, I want no part of it.He is a partner in my labor when I am called according to His design and purpose (Romans 8:28). If it does not adding to my family, exponentially producing spiritual benefits and fruit, then I don’t want it. Some of it has to go. What about you? Are you hurrying with me? Wouldn’t you love down to slow down and watch autumn paint the landscape? I want to!
Join me this month of September, traditionally a month of busyness and let’s try to intentionally, purposefully slow down. Share your ideas with me! Let’s not grow weary in laboring for an intentional time of prayer and purpose. Let’s pursue the natural rhythm of life and share our successes!
*Note- Positive Adoption is meeting again beginning Wednesday September 9th from 7-8:30 weekly at Trinity Assembly of God, Fairmont WV.