Faith, Lifestyle

On Labor Day We Give High Fives

September 2, 2013

I love three day weekends.  I’m certain that I could finally maintain a healthy work-life balance if all weekends were three days long.  I would have clean laundry, a suntan, and a social life all at the same time.

I would be Gwyneth Paltrow.

I’ve never really understood Labor Day, except as a signal to go back to school, to prepare for pumpkin spice lattes, and to stop wearing white pants to high-society polo matches.

Wikipedia told me that Labor Day is a holiday set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It’s a high-five for workers halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

I really appreciate the high-five, because this worker is feeling a little winded. I just did eight loads of sorted laundry.

Labor Day triggers a new season: a new school year, the onset of fall, a warmup to the sprint of the holidays. Around Labor Day, people start eyeing their calendar more strategically, as if summer gives way to more responsibility. And responsibility almost always comes with a hint of not-ready-yet reluctance.

This morning I was sitting with  two coffee companions: my bible and my calendar, bouncing between the two as if the realities of one depended on the other.

Sometimes I misunderstand Jesus as a prescriber of activities, as an orchestrator of world change through full personal calendars and never-weary personalities.

Then I evaluate my calendar and my weariness and worry that I’m disappointing Jesus. I wonder if he would sit across the  table from me and start a lot of sentences with “If only…”

So this morning I took a break from my calendar and my coffee and opened up the Word to clear up the misunderstanding.

In Luke 13, Jesus asks a crowd, “What is the Kingdom of God like?” Jesus defines the work and answers His own question by comparing the Kingdom first to a teeny, tiny mustard seed and then to a tiny portion of yeast.  He says that even a little yeast will permeate every part of the dough. Just one seed will grow into a tree.  The currency of the kingdom comes in tiny increments.

Maybe I misunderstand Jesus when I assume I’m wholly responsible for building the tree or baking the loaf. Jesus explicitly asks for my tiny ingredients. He already knows what I have to offer. What if His expectations are wrapped in grace, not disappointment?

Jesus takes small things, little bits of faithfulness and sacrifice, and grows them into big things. He builds a whole kingdom on deposits of human-sized investments.

Matthew Henry says, “God is ready to concur with his grace and assist our faithful endeavors. All our working depends on his working in us.” All progress and growth is miracle, a collision of our obedience met with His grace.

So lets remember Jesus as an extender of grace, as an orchestrator of world change through the miraculous growth of tiny mustard seeds and packets of yeast.It’s a new season, a growing season where everyone has a little something to plant, a little pocket of faithfulness that is exactly enough.  And there is sufficient grace ahead.

[Tweet: “It’s a new season, a growing season where everyone has a little something to plant, a little pocket of faithfulness that is exactly enough.  And there is sufficient grace ahead.”}

Let all the workers high-five.

Happy Labor Day.

  • Brian

    Thanks Bekah. You both crack me up and inspire at the same time.

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