Today marks a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. But I am asking myself if anyone truly knows the deeper meaning behind an honest day's work? Does Labor Day have any real significance when so many have joined the ranks of the unemployed? With over 47,000,000 Americans choosing a welfare card over a paycheck, have we lost the value of work?
I would like to explore a quote from one of Dr. Martin Luther King's sermons which I believe sums up how we should approach our jobs. He said, "Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry… We need more people who are competent in all areas and always remember that the important thing is to do a good job. No matter what it is. Whatever you are doing consider it as something having cosmic significance, as it is a part of the uplifting of humanity. No matter what it is, no matter how small you think it is, do it right. As someone said, do it so well that the living, dead, or the unborn could do it no better."
You see, we are in danger of no longer appreciating a hard day's work, regardless of what the world thinks of us, or how much money we make. Instead, we tend to glorify what brings us recognition and social status; only pursuing work or employment that enhances our reputation or our bank account.
Dr. King admonishes us to approach our daily tasks with enthusiasm and passion -- no matter how insignificant or trivial someone else may find it. Because it is not the title on our resumé that matters, it is how well we do the job. The successful in life always approach their vocation with this attitude: Whatever needs to be done, I am willing to do it .... and I will finish my assignment beyond all expectations. They are not so self-important that they refuse to do jobs "beneath" themselves; nor do they have their own glory in mind.
Not just the individual, but all of society benefits when we have a workforce that makes "excellence" their motto; when employees are not seeking "instant" rewards and look at what they can contribute instead of what they can get. With this change of attitude, I might concede that we deserve a day of rest and leisure from our honest toils. Until then, we're probably looking at more strikes by fast-food workers who think they deserve double their salary for working half the hours. Of course, it's going to take a major change of attitude and policies on the part of our national leaders as well. In fact, they could spend a little more time "working" for us, don't you think?
Genesis 2:15 "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."