By Jon Wren
Many of us enjoy an extra day off and spend time with family and friends on Labor Day weekend. This uniquely American holiday was created in the 19th century to honor American workers by giving them a well-deserved day off. Though the holiday has become more a celebration of summer’s end than a day to mark progress by the labor movement, it still is a day enjoyed by nearly everyone.
Scripture says God gave us work as a gift, not a curse. Before sin entered the world, God placed humans in the Garden of Eden to “work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). We don’t know what that work entailed, but it wasn’t a punishment. The work was filled with meaning, purpose, and significance.
Today, many of us would not describe work as a blessing. We often find our work to be consuming, frustrating, and even pointless. As it turns out, God said such discontent would be a consequence of sin (see Genesis 3:17-19). The wages of sin not only is death, but also toil and frustration—a sense we must always prove ourselves in order to be accepted and valued.
Which is why, in the same Genesis passage, God not only described the consequences of sin, but said sin and evil would be crushed by the work of Christ (Genesis 3:15).
Every time we take Communion, we celebrate that Jesus, through his sacrifice on the cross, broke the curse of sin and gave life back to us as it was always intended. In and through Christ alone, our lives have meaning, purpose, and significance. Paul describes it this way: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Today let’s celebrate and remember the gift and promise made available to us because of the work of Christ!
Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slow.