Monday, September 2, 2013


What do you think about when you hear the word labor?

If you're female, and you've had kids, your mind probably goes to those fun moments leading up to birth.

Others might think about work – and labor means hard work by definition – (physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting).  Synonyms include toil, exertion, drudgery, effort.

No matter what, the word labor doesn't seem to conjure up the *fun stuff*, does it?  

So, today is Labor Day.

According to Wikipedia, "Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.  It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike (a nationwide railroad strike)."

OK, that makes sense.

But this was the extra part that I loved:

"With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations."

Sounds so **American** huh???  

Mom, apple pie, and barbeque!!  

So, I hope that most of you are not experiencing labor pains or working too hard on this Labor Day 2013.  I hope you're relaxing, having fun, eating too much, and enjoying some fun in the sun.

That's what I'm going to be doing.


Might you just take a few moments and consider this?

What does the Bible say about labor?

Well, it says quite a bit actually.  But I'd like to focus on three things.

First, when we work, we should work hard.

We should look at whatever *work* we do as something that we are really doing for the Lord.  We should treat it as a mission, a calling, a God-ordained purpose.  Whatever we do, whether we work in or outside the home, I think He wants us to be industrious.

And, we should be conscious of setting a good example for the "cloud of witnesses" that watches what we do as believers.  To be honest, I don't wake up every morning remembering that I am an ambassador for Christ.  But I think I should.

So, let's represent our heavenly home well, and be diligent agents for the cause of our King.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…" (Colossians 3:23, NIV)

"For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.  For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.  Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living…" (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, ESV)

(I just picked two verses – there are countless others applauding the necessity and virtue of hard work)

Second, no task is considered small in the Kingdom of God.

Oh, how we humans love to compare and contrast.  It seems we rarely ever do anything just for the inherent value of the work itself.  We're continually looking at the "other guy."

Even the disciples were prone to this cursed game.  

Remember this?

"About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?'" (Matthew 18:1, NLT)

Or this?

"Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. 'Teacher,' they said, 'we want you to do us a favor.'
'What is your request?' he asked.
They replied, 'When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.'" 
(Mark 10:35-37, NLT)


Frankly, I'd be embarrassed for James and John if I hadn't asked the Lord my own version of those questions a time or two (or hundred).

Sometimes I get discouraged thinking that I'm not doing enough.  Some of it is motivated by a true desire to serve God.  But often, I’m driven by the compare/contrast trap.  And, if I'm completely honest, I often want to do bigger things because I want to be more noticed.

Ah, the quicksand of seeking the approval of men.

But God does not look at work in this way.  

In fact, He turned it all upside down when He said this:

"But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." 
(Matthew 19:30, NLT)

God looks at what we do through His eyes, His perspective, His purposes. Not a one of us is useless or extraneous to the important work of the Kingdom.

I once blogged about being a big toe in the Body of Christ (here).  I think it's good to remember that ALL of us contribute, and NOTHING is ever too small if done in the name of the Lord, for HIS glory!

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 
(1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV)

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…" (Zechariah 4:10, NLT)

Finally, we will be rewarded for our work.

You know, sometimes I feel guilty when I receive compliments. Why? Because I get this inner thrill inside of me.

I've struggled for many years over this issue.

Is it wrong to be glad when someone recognizes our work and applauds it?

I have suffered terrible angst over the happiness I feel when I am able to connect to someone through either my written or spoken words.  I judge that I am feeling this way only because I'm taking credit for it.

After all, I've been taught all my life that we should not boast except in the Lord Jesus.

So, in sort of a reverse *un-pride* I've dismissed people's reactions and remarks.  I've pushed aside those good feelings I get.  I've squelched the boost to my self-esteem, as I've labeled this response as egotistical.

But, in the end, it seems that all I've really accomplished is getting myself very, very discouraged.

Yup, in an effort to be a good "Christian," all I've succeeded in doing is giving the enemy a mighty stranglehold on my heart.

Think bushel – hiding my light under a bushel.

That's not right either.


I've actually concluded these three things:

1) The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit gives us gifts, and we are told to 
USE them.

2) When we use our gifts for the Lord's sake, and for the sake of His body of believers, and for the advancement of His Kingdom, we will feel JOY.

3) Part of our mission as His disciples is to SHINE.

In an unbelievable act of grace, God also promises us rewards.  He knows how He made us.  He knows we need to feel a sense of accomplishment.  He knows it's important to be recognized and shown approved.

And you know what?

He really likes giving pats on the back!

It's OK to work for a reward.  It's part of our inheritance, it's part of God's promise to us, it's part of what we were made for.

I personally think I'm going to look pretty good in a crown…just sayin'!!

"Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ." (Colossians 3:24, NLT)

"His lord said unto him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.'" (Matthew 25:23, KJV)

So, on this Labor Day, may we look at *work* in Biblical terms – considering all we do as a labor of love.

Let's work hard.

Let's always remember that no work is too small.

And let's never forget that we will be well-rewarded for our efforts.

It's all for HIM.

All for HIS GLORY!

From sunrise to sunset,
commit your work to the Lord.

How do you need to change the way you view work?

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Oh yes! I'm on board with all of the above. When we REALLY stop and think that ALL of it is His gift to us, whether it is words or actions, we are put at ease and we know that it isn't really us at all. This was so good Sharon. Have I ever mentioned that you write my own heart??!! :)

  2. Happy Labour Day, Sharon. So much of what you say here echoes what has been said in church over the weekend. Praise God He doesn't give up on us/me

  3. Blessings Sharon and oh what a wonderful delight (I should have known)... I replied to your inspirational comment in answer to Q#5 and I flippantly made a remark about "Happy Labor Day" then I ventured over here to see what you came up with for this Monday and lo and behold ... God answered through you and your laboriously once again, extremely well written and tied together insights on "labor". Truly writing is a labor of love for you. And without a doubt, you deserve every accolade you get ... and loved the lessons applied to Scripture so well. I walk away (actually just leave the keyboard) pondering so many interesting and applicable points to my meager labor ... and never in childbirth. However, I know the value God has placed in each of us to do our part cuz it's all significant in the kingdom. I can see alot of connections to this with the SHAPE that Pastor Rick Warren was doing and even the current series. I gain so much through my visits with you.
    Love your sunrise, sunset mountain photo!

    I'm just spending a lazy day catching up and hopefully taking a siesta. No BBQ or Labor stuff here. But next weekend, look out ... fireworks and celebrations galore. And once again, no sleep for the weary me ... first these continual storms at night and now celebrations with 4 dogs that just don't get it, nor like it or the sounds ... ho hum.
    Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go... or I forgot for me, it's off to some shut eye... after I feed the crew.

    Love to you, Hubs, Marty and the boys, with prayers for your parents and you... (((hugs))) Peggy

    Oh, and I went to Marty's blog (which is a work in progress on hold I guess) but at least put a lovely photo of Marty there, OK?

    1. Thanks, Peggy, for your precious comments. And, just FYI, I am going to do some work on the Marty blog, and hopefully *launch* it in the next couple of weeks! Thanks for giving me a coaxing reminder about it.

      LOVE YOU!

  4. Happy Labor fay I hope you have a wonderful day. sandie

  5. I found myself looking up verses last night about what the Bible said in regards to labor. Has women without any children my mind immediately goes to thinking about work when I hear the word labor. Hope you've enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day!

  6. Lots of wisdom here and encouragement for us. My new son-in-law's mother went into labor with him 29 years ago on Labor Day so I enjoyed your introduction thinking about how she mentioned it on her FB status!

  7. Hi Sharon! You did such a great reflection for the Labor Day holiday. There is so much dignity in work, as the Lord directed us to do. My heart does go out to those who are not working too, and want a job. Our economy is not the best.

    I often think of Labor Day in the 'giving birth' sense. So funny! I suppose most women do.
    Thank you for your post today. I know the Master is giving you a 'pat on the back' for witnessing for him. But I'll do it too....Good job :)

  8. God has given us each gifts and as we use them, others may notice (and see our light shine) and even let us know they appreciate our God given gift. No that is not pride when we receive a compliment because we used our gift. A simple thank you shows them that we care enough to receive their heartfelt gift back to us of their appreciation. We understand that we are acting in Christ’s stead, even as we write and speak. We are exercising our gift to proclaim truth and boldly not hesitatingly say or write, words He gives to us. If our gift is music, or something else, we can give God praise for using us in His service. Hope this makes sense. Thank you for sharing at “Tell Me a Story.”
    Also thank you for your comments about my dishes.

  9. Sharon,

    What a great post for Labor Day! I too, am not one for compliments possibly due to my upbringing, my dad often times felt the need to criticize more than pay compliments so when I received them, it felt wrong. So glad you helped change my perspective on that and I know like my pastor mentioned last week, when I receive my crown, I want to lay it at the feet of Jesus, my gift for what He has given me in return.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  10. Oh, Sharon! This is such a timely word this past weekend for me! For me and a couple of my friends - sisters in the Lord - an accountability trio of us women "entrepreneurs" seeking to serve the Lord properly in the labor He has called us to. We are each uniquely gifted and are helping each other establish our home based businesses. What trials we have encountered along the way - ending in exactly what you described as hiding our Lights under a bushel in some weird attempt to be humble. It's been a breakthrough week for each of us on the path we're traveling - and I am hopeful of greater things ahead. I'll be sharing this post with them. Do stop by my place again and see what three special gifts I got for my birthday. Be ye blessed!

  11. Well, again this touched my heart. I used my teaching talents from years ago to help my daughter in law get ready for a school year. I felt good about our accomplishments. After reading this post, I realize it was God's gifts I was using, just like He asked me too. Thank you. And that!

  12. Excellent!!! (Did you just get a good feeling inside?) Really, I hope you see this because I thought this was so inspired and well written. I was particularly blessed by the last part. Providentially, one of the proverbs I'm studying in advance of this week's lesson is "Let another praise you and not your own mouth..." It's part of a lesson on envy (really... it does fit). I loved the lesson you taught here.

  13. Hi, Sharon! So glad you stopped by my blog and left me a note letting me know you had written about much the same thing as me. SUCH great wisdom you have shared here. I, too, wrestle with not wanting to be prideful but longing for the pat on the back at the same time! I love how you wrapped it all up at the end - work hard, know that nothing we do is too small, and know that HE will indeed reward our faithfulness and labor. Thanks for the encouragement!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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