Happy Labor Day
Today our family celebrated the Labor Day holiday by going to the tide pools in San Pedro. We had a great time wading in the water, walking on the rocks, and looking for whatever sea life we could find. It was nice to have the holiday to break from the usual routine of school, work, etc. I hope you had a great weekend! Growing up, Labor Day has always been a bittersweet holiday because it signified the end of summer and the beginning of another school year. That’s not the case anymore as most schools now start prior to Labor Day. But more than just a day to go to the beach or barbeque, Labor Day is supposed to be a day to recognize the American labor movement and the contributions of workers in the growth of our country. It’s a celebration of organized labor and the American workforce which, through its hard work and ingenuity, has produced the greatest economy in history and one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Hard work is a virtue. There are great rewards to being industrious, not only nationally but personally. Many of us have parents and grandparents that worked extremely hard to make things better for us. Many of you have done the same for your families. We see diligent, hard-working people around us all the time accomplishing great things in school, business, sports, etc. And although hard work by itself isn’t a guarantee of success, it’s essential to accomplish anything of lasting significance. As Christians, we are called by God to be hard-working. There are many places in the Bible that speak of this virtue. One in particular is Proverbs 6:6-11 which says “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”
It’s interesting that God would use such a small example such as the ant as a model for us. But maybe it’s because it’s so obvious to us how diligent they are. I think we’ve all observed ants as they’ve marched across our counter or in our backyard collecting food or carrying stuff back and forth to build their nest. Sometimes I notice one ant will carry another when it’s hurt or injured. So what traits about industriousness can we learn from the ant that may help us as believers?
- They’re self-starters – It says that they have no commander or overseer to make them work, they just naturally do what they know to do. I admit it’s sometimes hard to be productive for the Lord all the time everyday. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what God wants us to do in every situation. But it’s even harder if we’re lazy about doing the things we know we should do. That might be praying, reading our Bibles, coming to church, or using our gifts to serve in ministry. Let us be self-starters when it comes to obeying God in the basic things.
- They work together – Ants are organized into colonies and have different roles within their complex systems. As Scripture says, they do not take orders from the top down like they do in bee colonies but are programmed to work together for the common good. While we serve the Lord first and foremost, He has made us to work together alongside one another. Like ants, we’re in the same army. Together, we will be safer, stronger, and more productive.
- They plan for the future – It’s amazing that ants know, as Scripture says, to store its provisions in summer and gather its food at harvest. Ants do what they need to do in season to prepare for adversity out of season. In the same way, God would have us work hard and be diligent in times of plenty knowing that there will be times of scarcity, to be able to provide for ourselves, our families, and the Body of Christ.
It’s important to note that Scripture does not condemn those who would work, if they could, but are legitimately prevented. Nor is it a sin to be poor. There are many people who work hard yet still struggle to make ends meet. However, we see from Scripture it is not God’s will for us to be lazy. Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Beloved, with ants as our model, let us learn to be hard working and diligent in the Lord.