Americans are savoring their last days under the summer sun this Labor Day when the year's hard work pays off with a day of physical, and for some, spiritual rest.
"The Bible dignifies human labor. Our Creator made us to work, and gave us the capacity to fabricate, to plow, to invent, and to organize our energies together," wrote Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a column marking Labor Day.
"The Bible condemns laziness and sloth, and honors hard work," he added.
Yet for most, the day commemorating work will still be spent on the job.
The federal holiday taking place the first Monday in September each year began as a day off for the "working man" in 1882. Now the holiday is celebrated mainly as a day to sneak in the last summer vacation and to kick back, relax, and spend time with the family before school resumes.
Over the Labor Day weekend, some Christians basted in the sun, enjoying music from top Christian artists, and held fellowships.
In South Dakota, tens of thousands of people attended the LifeLight Christian Music Festival in Sioux Falls where over 100 performances by leading Christian artists – including Chris Tomlin, Jars of Clay and TobyMac – graced five stages Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
Meanwhile, in Kansas City – arguably one of the most racially segregated cities in America – two racially different churches took advantage of the Labor Day weekend to hold a joint service and fellowship afterwards to promote a predominantly white and a largely African-American church held a joint service to promote unity within the local church body.
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, led by Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton, and St. James United Methodist Church, pastored by Congressman and former Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II, united Sunday sharing sermon duties and joining forces through the choir, orchestra, and praise band.
Afterwards, the predominantly white and the largely African American church held a picnic lunch and encouraged church families to visit the local zoo together to foster friendship and strengthen relationships across racial lines.
Whatever way the Labor Day weekend is used, the holiday serves as a time to allow American workers to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
"This nation has become the greatest economic power the world has ever seen. To a great extent, this is a great tribute to American workers," commented Mohler. "Even in the age of the information economy, this nation depends on the millions of workers who faithfully and effectively do their work, perform their jobs, and lead the world in productivity."
"So enjoy Labor Day – and remember the dignity of work … and of workers," urged Mohler.