Experts are saying it was the shortest summer on record. Well, didn’t it feel like that? Of course everything gets shorter as you grow older, including you own height. Chandler, who will be 15 in eight days, is now taller than me. That’s because he’s growing and I’m settling. At some point, a few days ago, we met in the middle, and he passed me.
Children everywhere are complaining about having to go back to school so soon. Some parts of the country have been in school already. For us, it starts tomorrow. We think that’s too soon. At least give a day after Labor Day to go get all the stuff for school you simply could not bring yourself to get until now, because you refused to believe that summer was over so quickly.
Actually, it was one of the shortest summers ever, because Labor Day, the key indicator of the end of a good thing and the beginning of something dreaded, falls on the 1st Monday of September, which also happens to be September 1 this year. It couldn’t come any sooner.
The United States Department of Labor says that Labor Day 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.”
Of course, the mood was a little different in the late eighteen hundreds when Labor Day was founded. That was a time of great promise of what the Industrial Revolution would afford the nation. Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” I’m not sure smoke-bellowing factories were exactly well-described as full of “grandeur,” but it was a time where much faith was placed in progress.
It is no longer the age of industrial progress, but it is still a time to appreciate work, jobs, and the people who perform them, from the least of them to the greatest. God values work; He also values a day off from work, which is why we have Sunday. So celebrate your employment today, and as you flip burgers on the grill, or whatever else you do today, thank God for the value of work, and the privilege of providing for your own needs and the needs of those you love. It’s a basic right that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And maybe, let a little of that attitude bleed over into tomorrow, when, with everyone back in their workplaces, you can appreciate the jobs people around you do, and tell them that.
And as you return to your own work, make it your aim to bring about the reality of this highly practical word from Paul: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).