I am always fascinated by how our viewpoints about things are affected by the culture we live in. Today is Labor Day in the U.S., where many will celebrate– well, not laboring.
It always seems a little perverse to me. We’re encouraged to celbrate laborers, but at the same time regard them as oppressed, downtrodden. Labor is seen as a necessary evil, and so we celebrate those who endure it.
That’s just another way that our contemporary world is out of tune, not only with the eternal, but with all the wise men of the ages. We think that labor is a necessary evil, and that relaxation, usually exemplified by stretching out on a sunny beach, is pure blessing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson thought differently. He saw doing nothing, “idleness,” as unhappiness. And so have wise men throughout the ages. Frankly, if Heaven is a life without labor of any kind, I think eternity could get pretty boring.
In my favorite book on Education, Ellen White made the following statement.At the creation, labor was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, happiness. The changed condition of the earth through the curse of sin has brought a change in the conditions of labor; yet though now attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, it is still a source of happiness and development. And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence, and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God’s great plan for our recovery from the Fall.
Notice that before the fall, at creation, labor was–what’s this?– a blessing! You mean, in a perfect world, their will be work to do?
I surely hope so. Years ago, I kept bees as a hobby. When the nectar is flowing and bees are busy collecting it and making honey, you can go into their hive, and they pretty much ignore you. Because they’re happy when they’re doing what they were made to do. On dry days, when the breeze is hot and there’s no nectar flowing, bees have nothing to do but hang around the hive, and they can be really cranky. Watch out!
We’re like that to. We weren’t made for idleness. Labor means development, power, happiness! So, it’s fine to relax and recharge for a time. But for real joy, we’ll want to get back to work.