If we are looking for someone to blame for our need to labor, we must go all the way back to Adam. After Adam enjoyed that apple or peach or whatever was on that tree, the LORD told Adam in Genesis 3:19 "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…." From that time until now all of mankind has labored in one way or another.

It is in God's perfect plan for man to labor in some honorable vocation. Also ,the Apostle Paul stated "..that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Mr. Webster defines labor as "physical or mental work or toil or burden". I would add to that "spiritual toil". The celebration of "Labor Day" seems to have originated in the 1880's. Then in 1894 Congress passed a bill making Labor Day a legal holiday commemorating our labor as doctors, engineers, pastors, carpenters, mothers, ditch diggers etc.

Labor unions started to assist the common worker by gaining better working conditions, shorter hours and other benefits for the employees. (However, we still read about "sweat shops" where mostly illegal immigrants are forced into hard and long hours of work.) These unions helped with the worker's physical and mental labor but very little if any spiritual labor. So, we "go to work", cope with burdens in our family life but also we confront sin as a burden that has a heavy spiritual "yoke".

Two thousand years ago Jesus, God the Son, taught about spiritual burden. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light".

Notice that Jesus did not say that He would take away our yoke and burdens. A yoke is a collar placed on a beast of burden, a work animal. Jesus said that His yoke and burden are light. So, we will have trials, as scripture verifies in James 1:2 which says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…..that testing…develops perseverance".

We must continue to work to raise our families, to eat and to enjoy every-day activities here on earth. And with the promise from Jesus that His burden is light, we must strive as Paul directed in 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain".

Finally, what is the work of the LORD? The Apostles asked Jesus that very question in John 6:28-29 and Jesus replied "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent "(Jesus). Emphasis mine! The evidence of our belief in Jesus is shown by our actions, in the way we follow Him and obey all that Jesus taught.

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