A special message from Billy Graham as we prepare for the national observance of Labor Day:
Work is a part of God’s plan for our lives. Work is not something we do just to put food on the table; it is one of the major ways God has given us to bring glory to Him. The writer of Ecclesiastes declared, “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God” (2:24). Paul said, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
For most of his life Jesus worked with his hands. “Isn’t this the carpenter?” some of His enemies sneered, assuming (incorrectly) that an ordinary occupation such as carpentry surely disqualified Him from being the Messiah (Mark 6:3). The Apostle Paul likewise worked with his hands, often earning his living as a tentmaker during his travels (Acts 18:3). In God’s eyes every legitimate work has dignity and importance, which means we should do our work with pride and diligence and integrity.
But our work was never meant to become the center of our lives. That place belongs only to God, and when we allow our work to dominate and control us, then it has become an idol to us—and that is wrong. Someone who brags about working seventy or eighty hours (or more) a week probably thinks he is the master of his job—but in reality he has become its slave. In addition, because his life is so wrapped up in work, his identity or sense of self-worth—that is, his understanding of his value or significance as a person—often comes to depend on his ability to work. Unfortunately our materialistic society only reinforces this view. But God says you are greater than your work, and your work is only a part of His plan for you.