Someone at youth group last night asked a question probably many of us lie awake thinking about, “What is Labor Day for?” And it is a good question indeed, though it often goes unasked by most folks, and therefore unanswered. And since no question is a ‘dumb’ question (at least that’s what good teachers tell shy unconfident young question askers), we’ll delve briefly into what Labor Day really is.
Some McGuire, either Matthew or Peter-no one knows for sure-came up with the holiday in the late 1800’s. Regardless of which McGuire came up with it, Labor day was created by the Central Labor Union and a parade soon ensued. Just two years later in 1884, many other industrial centers thought “we can do better than a parade.” Thus they so solidified Labor Day’s place in September.
It was to be a “working-men’s” holiday to celebrate those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold (Peter McGuire).”
Since I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, I can celebrate holidays, and can do a lot of other cool things with the freedom I possess in Christ. How then should I celebrate Labor Day? Well last year, I painted my office room blue, and this year I went fishing and watched Transformers. But I think there is a bit more that can be done, but of course no parades for me.
I’m not in a union, and am not being paid by a union to say this, but I think something related to Labor Day is worthy of reflection. There are a lot of jobs which are completely thankless, and for which I have neither the skill, desire, or tolerance to do. Collecting garbage is certainly up there. But this is an important thing to do, and we ought to be thankful that folks do it. What about toll booth operators? How hard would that be? Recently they’ve been really darn friendly to me (so I’m kind of ‘high’ on them right now), and are doing something that simply needs to be done.
But jobs like these might run the gamut, from blue to white to ring-around-the-collar.
So in honor of Labor Day, or rather just to honor one another, (which is a scriptural command from Romans 12 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves”), thank the un-thanked. Or at least honor them by remembering what they do. I think they’ll thank you right back.