Celebrate the Right Labor
Matthew Maguire and Peter McGuire. Do you recognize those names? Unless they are your great grandfather, I wouldn’t expect you to. They are the two people, long dead, yet still fighting on the pages of history journals for the coveted acclaim as the founder of Labor Day. Yes, that holiday that we celebrate this month and gives us the long weekend – perhaps we so desperately need. Then again, maybe you have to work this Labor Day anyway. Still, both Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York in 1882, are given credit for proposing this holiday to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” (Taken from the Department of Labor website: https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history)
No matter who really started the holiday it is intended to pay tribute to the “contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” And in that, it is a very American holiday. We are certainly a nation that prides itself on putting our mind to a task, working incredibly hard, and achieving that goal. That’s a good thing most of the time.
“I can do it all by myself!” If you have children, you have heard these words. It’s even an attitude we want them to obtain and practice. You want them to become independent. You want them to work. “I can do it all by myself!” You say it too. You complete the project at work by yourself to receive the raise or promotion. You work tirelessly on your backyard landscape so you can enjoy the crisp Autumn evenings.
Still, there is one realm in which you cannot say, “I can do it all by myself.” That is in the realm of your relationship with God. God’s expectations are far greater than your boss’s or even your own. God’s expectations are perfection and holiness because he is perfect and holy. To stand on our own in his eternal presence would require nothing less. We can be good workers, parents, siblings, and people, but unless we are perfect, we can’t do it “all by myself.”
But we don’t have to do it ourselves! God tells us in his Word that we have been saved by grace – undeserved love! The love of a mother or father for their child, that sees them putting on their shoe all wrong, but still finds pride and joy in them. We all are undeserving. Still, God deeply loved us. He sent Jesus to open the way to heaven.
When it comes to the eternal prosperity of your soul, you have someone’s labor and contributions to celebrate. Not your own, but Jesus’. Jesus is the one who opens heaven. He lived a perfect, righteous, and completely god-pleasing life. Then he sacrificed his innocent life in our place for all of our failings and imperfections. Now, through Jesus, we are perfectly right before God, all because we didn’t do it ourselves. Jesus did it for us!
Thank Jesus for this wonderful gift! He is your Savior who did it all for you!
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