Who of us old enough to remember will ever forget Dobie Gillis’ sidekick, Maynard G. Krebs, in the sixties sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis?

Maynard was a stereotypical beatnik, with a goatee, “hip” language, and an aversion to the conventional lifestyle—especially work. Whenever work was mentioned, he’d yelp “Work?!” and jump with fear or pass out. His antics were always followed with canned laughter. Maynard G Krebs – Work Clip

Today we celebrate Labor Day—a federal holiday that honors American workers and the contributions they make to our nation’s well-being. An unwillingness to work is not laughable. Work is honorable. This Labor Day we can be grateful the jobless rate is at an 18-year low. After years of few job opportunities, more and more people are joining the labor force.

The Bible has strong words concerning those who work and those who are able-bodied and won’t. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8, ESV). 

Did you ever hear your parents or grandparents say, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop?” Though the statement is not found verbatim in Scripture, it has its roots there (Proverbs 18:9,  Proverbs 16:27).  We live in a fallen world, and if a person doesn’t occupy his mind as well as his hands, Satan is more than eager to tempt him to sin.

From the very beginning, God intended for man to work. Many believe that God doled out work as punishment for Adam’s and Eve’s sin, but Genesis 2:15  clearly refutes that. Even though Adam lived in paradise with no thorns or thistles, God put him in Eden to work—to tend the garden and keep it—to give every living creature a name. God gave Adam an assignment—a purpose. He’s given us purpose as well.

But thankfully God is not a hard taskmaster. He’s not about all work and no play. His divine plan gifted man with days of rest. We not only have the mandate to work hard, we have his permission to play hard. Both please our Creator.

Today, I hope you will rest from your labor, play hard, and give thanks for the gift of work.

Happy Labor Day!


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