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EVERYONE LABOURS – BUT FOR WHOM?

Everyone enjoys a public holiday every first of May, but do you know the reason behind it? It celebrates the coming of age of organized labour in Singapore, May Day should be seen as “a festive occasion for commemorating the dignity of labour”. 

There is a down side to labour. The Bible tells us that labour/work can be oppressive as when the Israelites as slaves in Egypt, were forced into labour. The Israelites in turn oppressed other nations subjecting them to harsh labour (Judges 1).  Further, Solomon conscripted people from pagan nations to build the Temple and his palace (I Kings 9:15). Ecclesiastes 2:21 says that while one may labour with much effort, one may have to leave it all to someone who did not toil for it, which makes it “meaningless and a great misfortune.” Again, without the Lord’s blessing, one’s labour can be “in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

But of course who or what we are labouring for makes a huge difference. In 2 Corinthians 11:27 the apostle Paul said, “I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep...” but he did so willingly for the Gospel. When we labour for the Kingdom, Jesus taught that we need not worry about clothes, food and drink for if God cares for the flowers, all the more He will provide for us (Matthew 6:28).

There is the promise in Psalm 128.1, 2: “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.  You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”  And in 1 Corinthians 15:58 Paul encourages us to work enthusiastically and confidently: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” Philippians 1:22 tells us work is a lifelong responsibility:  “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me.” First Thessalonians 1:3 reminds us of correct motives too: our labour must be prompted by love.

However, God does caution us against overwork.  Exodus 34:21 “Six days you shall labour, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the ploughing season and harvest you must rest.” Regular, adequate rest prevents burn-out even during critical periods.

The contrast between Mary and Martha in Luke 10 is stark. Martha was working hard to the point of being “worried and upset about many things, but only one thing (in that particular situation) is needed” said Jesus. Mary was rebuked for choosing the less important option. While Jesus was present, it was not important to slave over a meticulous meal or to work frantically on “all the preparations that had to be made”. Who said they had to be made? Martha was inwardly driven to choose the wrong priority. Let us not make the same mistake.

Pastor Graham

 

BCC Vision

“Like a tree planted by
streams of water,
which yields its fruit in 
season” 

(Psalm 1:3)

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11 Woodlands Close #03-40 
Singapore 737853

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11 Woodlands Close #03-40 
Singapore 737853

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