For much of my life, Labor Day meant a three-day weekend and a signal for a season change (summer to fall). It didn’t usually go much deeper than that.
However, when I read the history of Labor Day, it’s purpose is to “reflect our willingness to toil to improve our country through hard work.” Its goal is to honor and recognize the work and contributions of laborers to “the developments and achievements of the United States.”
To be honest, I haven’t done much of that in the past during this long weekend. But several years ago, as Discipling Marketplace Leaders grew in wisdom and knowledge about work as worship, that began to change. And I realized that in many of our partner countries across Africa, who often celebrate Labor Day in May, they do take time to celebrate work. It’s not just a day off, but a time when people gather to learn, discuss, and pray for jobs.
So today is an important day for DML because it is a day when we recognize all the work that people do across the globe to make our world function and flourish. So much of that is unnoticed by us. Yet each person and business contribute in some way, shape or form.
One of my favorite videos to illustrate this is the video, I Pencil, which we show in most of our workshops. It shows how many people are involved in making something that looks so simple. Yet it takes an amazing number of people around the world to make that pencil. If that it takes just for a pencil, think about items that contain more than four or five ingredients. The web of how the economy works global is amazing, and while this video talks about an invisible hand guiding it, we know the owner of this Owner and Creator of that Hand.
And so we thank God today. In whatever you are doing this day, whatever you put your hand on or whatever activity you do, pause and reflect on those who created it who are made in His Image, using His good resources, for our flourishing. When you eat, thank God for those who were involved from the field all the way to our plates. And whatever you do for work, whether at home, in the workplace, or otherwise, thank God for the ability to join in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by doing good work.
Good goods. Good work. God wealth. Below is a great summary of six practical principles for business. Taken from the “Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection” (Discatery for Promoting Integral Human Development).