The Labor Day Holiday, an Oxymoron
August 31, 2014
By definition an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. Some examples are: open secret, tragic comedy, awful pretty, or original copies. “Labor Day” was created way back in the 1800’s when the Central Labor Union desired to honor workers by providing them with a day off. Hmmm, a day off called Labor Day, interesting, wouldn’t you say? Although we speak a great deal about laboring for the Lord in the ministry, citing such passages as Matthew 9:37 “The Harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few”, we must not forget that “Rest” is very important. Jesus saw that the labor of His disciples in Mark 6:31 was taking a toll on them. Notice that verse, “And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” I confess that I am one of those (perhaps like you) that suffer from a sense of guilt when I am attempting to rest. After all, in ministry there is always another phone call or visit that could be made, another email or letter written, a few more minutes spent in planning, prayer, study or in counsel. There may be many factors that have guided us to this workaholic mindset. Perhaps it was the pattern set by our parents, fear of being called a sluggard or slacker, an earnestness to please the Lord, or maybe just a deep desire to succeed and accomplish that led us to this restless pace. Regardless of the reason we find ourselves always working, let us pay attention to the words of Jesus, “Come apart and rest a while.” Rest provides us with physical strength and the clarity of mind we often need to do the job better. I might also add, rest results in a positive attitude while working, something for which our co-workers will be grateful. It is true that some of us will have to reorganize our lives to make time for rest . . . but then again, life is prioritizing and re-prioritizing as we go, isn’t it? Just remember one thing- Rest for the Lord not from the Lord!
In Search of the Desert Place,