Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day

Daily Gratitude Year 4- Day 249: Today, I am grateful we can labor, live and rest in gratitude.

Today is Labor Day. A salute and a day of rest that celebrates the American worker. It is the first Monday in September and is a bit of a farewell to summer. Families slip in one more getaway or one more project to complete, before fall really arrives. It is a day to honor workers and give them a little rest.

In 1894,President Grover Cleveland signed the declaration making it a federal holiday, although 30 states already recognized it. It was at the end of "The Pullman Strike" - some dark days for the country during the Industrial Revolution.

Today is as great reminder to be grateful for work. Ask someone who has experienced job loss. Being paid for work provides us with resources to live. Early Americans lived more by trade and barter, but today, most live by some kind of paycheck. Most punch some kind of a clock (literally or the expected hours by contract or salary). Most, realize that all work and no rest lead to health issues and burn out. Yesterday, I was reminded by statistics that the poorest in our midst, are living better than most of the world. That is humbling as I enjoy this holiday.

The privilege of honest work with respectable compensation is not found everywhere. Laws to protect children and workers are not universal. They have not always been a part of our nation's heritage. Finding balance and respect between owners and employees is not always easy. We keep trying. There are ups, downs and times workers and companies go round and round to find a common ground and agreement. Honest work with fair compensation is a goal.

My Grandpa Lindgren always preached an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. He lived through many seasons of barely enough...but enough. There were times that simply having a place to live, hot meals, a roof and a small stipend at the end of the week was all he earned.He never forgot to be grateful, even the most simple of God's provisions.

Born the youngest child of Swedish immigrants, Issac "Harry" Lindgren grew and lived out his days grateful to be physically able to work...every day of his life...well into his 90's. God granted him the health to continue to be a part of working the land, caring for livestock and gathering eggs for nearly all of his days. He found contentment in his labor... and joy.

Grandpa taught his sons to work...and his sons were an example to the next generation. Being "Lindgren" meant you would do your best, do a little more than was expected and be grateful for the wages. Grandpa never asked more of an employee than he was willing to do himself. I still love hearing the stories of Grandpa from people who helped us on the farm when they were kids. He left an impression. A good work ethic is a rich legacy.

Keeping work in Biblical perspective, I love the reminder to work, create and enjoy...but then remember to rest.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. -Genesis 2:2

Yes, even God took a rest. Then, never forget WHO your are truly working for:

 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."-Colossians 3:23

The is the game changer in any job assignment. The most difficult of work changes when we do the work to His glory!  Allowing God to use our positions, no matter how humble or important by the world's standards...but by Divine Assignment... to be a blessing and an encouragement. To the benefit of an employer, a company or the people we serve... we are called to work for the Lord, not man. Not always easy, but always a goal.

Nehemiah...he was "Cupbearer to the King" when called to rebuild Jerusalem's wall. He accepted God's calling on his heart and went from construction foreman (to the same nation of whiner's and complainers that nearly drove Moses nuts)... to prophet of God. 

We can only see today's page in our labors. God sees the big picture. 

The kingdoms and castles of this world will crumble...but our God will reign forever.  Press on. 

Today, I am grateful we can labor, live and rest in gratitude.

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