But, from whence cometh Labor Day?
In 1863, an eleven year old boy, Peter McGuire, was shining shoes, cleaning stores, and running errands to help his mother feed his six siblings. His father, a poor Irish immigrant, had enlisted to fight in the Civil War. To say the least, Peter learned how to work very hard at an early age.
Later in his life, he barnstormed the eastern half of the United States on behalf of workers, many of whom were children, to get salaries comparable to their labor.
Peter and laborers in several cities planned a holiday for workers on the first Monday in September, halfway between July 4th and Thanksgiving. The first Labor Day parade was held on September 5, 1882. Soon the idea spread across the nation. In 1894, Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday.
Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays. No one buys gifts or decorates their house or yard. We have the day off with no particular agenda. It’s a great day to clean out the old garage or sort your socks.
A lot of folk use it to squeeze out the last vestiges of summer and cook hamburgers at the beach or lake.
Sunday I want to think with you about work, your life’s work, and the importance of working. You may have noticed that time goes by very quickly. The last thirty-five years, since I first lived in Tampa, have disappeared like a morning mist. Oh, I can look back and see some of the things we did in those years. But, they’re GONE! Did I waste a lot of them—of course! All of us are guilty of wasting time.
Time is one of God’s best gifts to us. All of us get the same amount. What we do with it is our gift to God. If we spend it on ourselves and in chasing futile dreams, we may find ourselves empty on the Day of Reckoning. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness!” The Bible reminds us that “the days are evil” and that we should “redeem the time!”
Jesus told his disciples that “night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9.4). It may be nearer than we think.