This week we salute our nation’s workers. Labor Day is an annual reminder of the contributions American workers have made to the well-being of our country. The Bible agrees that work benefits society and notes some other benefits as well.
Contrary to popular thought, work is not a result of the curse, though the curse has certainly added thorns to our labor. Adam and Eve worked before the fall. Besides monetarily benefiting the laborer and serving the community, hard work satisfies the worker. Solomon wrote, “I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors,” (Ecclesiastes 2:10, NLT).
The happiest servants in the parable of the talents were the ones who worked (Matthew 25:24-30). Their skills and joy multiplied with their labor. God equipped us with the right personalities and talents for the work He created us to do (Ephes. 2:10). As Olympian Eric Liddell felt God’s pleasure when he ran, so we feel His pleasure when use our talents.
In contrast, we are miserable when we bury them. Laziness is a thief. The lazy servant in the parable of the talents hid his talent out of fear that appears to have come from a wrong view of his master. His negative attitude robbed him of the joy and reward of hard work.
Such apathy damages character, hinders growth, and robs God and those with whom we live and work. A team member who ignores personal responsibilities damages the whole team’s morale and effectiveness. A spouse who is too lethargic to invest in his or her marriage or share the load of raising children drains the whole family.
Sloths are parasites to society. That is why Paul wrote, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Laziness is not born out of faith or love. It reflects selfishness, a sense of entitlement, and in some cases, fear.
Skills develop through use, and more importantly, our character blooms in the process. Joy comes from satisfying labor, not from being the most talented. I’ve seen some naturally gifted people rest on their talents and never contribute the sweat to hone their skills.
You are God’s masterpiece. He gave you enough strengths to be successful in your calling and enough weaknesses to keep you humble and reliant on Him. I encourage you to discover your God given personality, passions, and spiritual gifts. They give you clues to your calling and your sweet spot.
To all who work to make your lives, families, communities, and nations better: salute. May you enter the joy of Your Master.