Here’s a word of wisdom for this week:
“Once people feel nourished and refreshed, they cannot help but be kind; just so, the world aches for the generosity of a well-rested people.”
Source: Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest
Sometimes, you cannot say it better than a someone else. Today’s Labor Day, and before it’s over, I want to share with you what our friends over at Jobs For Life shared today. It really touched my heart as I contemplated what those who’ve gone before us have won so that our labor would be good rather than exploited. Good labor is what God made us for doing in the six days between Sabbaths: a useful vocation that accomplishes good in us and by our hands.
Lauren Mitchell over at our employment program Cafe Clarkston works hard to this end every day, and I’ll be sure to share about some more lives changed as a result of her work and that of her great volunteers. Here’s a picture of Lauren hard at work restoring families to the dignity of employment (in the middle):
Labor Day is today – Monday.
Most people look forward to this holiday as a time to enjoy their families, go to lakeside picnics, cookouts and baseball games. Unfortunately however, most Mondays are often not a day that elicits smiles and joy. In offices and workplaces across the nation, on a “normal” Monday, it is common to hear a little grumbling about Monday morning blues. If you’re like me, you often long for more weekend and less “week”.
But, as with the gospel, we often forget just how good we have it.
In fact, for the first hundred years of America’s existence, our great grandparents would have normally put in a 50-70 hour workweek. Back then a 40-hour workweek was a luxury. By the late 1800’s, our country was wrought with strife over poor working conditions, low pay, long hours and child labor.
But then the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor (isn’t that an awesome name?) got involved. As a result of various strikes and protests, reforms began to take place. On September 5, 1882, the first “Labor Day” was held as 10,000 workers took unpaid time off from their jobs to parade from New York’s City Hall and picnic at Union Square.
Because of labor reforms over the next fifty years, in 1938 a more stable and enjoyable balance of life was put into place with the 40-hour week, with weekends and holidays off, higher wages, and many other benefits that improve our quality of life.
Those workers from over a century ago cherished the meaning of labor and the dignity that work brought. They weren’t protesting work, rather they were celebrating it. Today, Labor Day “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.” It is a day we celebrate healthy work.
It is also a day we celebrate the fulfilling of Proverbs 11:10 – “when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.” If you haven’t heard author and speaker Amy Sherman speak about this passage, that is your Labor Day homework assignment – to listen and to do.
As we celebrate today, let us also think on the 18 million unemployed and underemployed people in America who can’t celebrate work…yet. And let us set our minds to making sure that next year, on the next Labor Day, they too have reason to celebrate
Did you do something this weekend to celebrate? We want to celebrate with you! Tell us about it!