It's getting close to Labor Day weekend, a federal holiday when government offices, schools and businesses are closed. So, most of us observe Labor Day as a day of rest. We participate in easy low-key activities like barbecuing, spending a day at the drag races, watching sports on TV and, of course, shopping!
Ironically, some retailers claim that the Labor Day weekend is one of their largest sales times of the year, so many who are employed in the retail industry not only work on Labor Day weekend, but end up working longer hours than usual.
This paradox concerning labor is an age-old dilemma. It even shows up in the fourth of the Ten Commandments which says:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the
seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God;
In it you shall not do any work, you or your son
or your daughter, your male or your female servant
or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
Perhaps like many of you, I was taught that this Fourth Commandment simply means, "work all week and go to church on Sunday." But the reality is that most of us work only five days per week, not six, so by not taking a full six days to do all our work, we've broken the commandment.
Here's another red flag: The seventh day is supposed be free of all work. Rest! Ahhh! And ordained by God, no less! But that presents a huge question as to what constitutes work. Dragging yourself out of bed, which for some reason is harder to do on a Saturday or Sunday, would be work. Popping a Pop Tart into the toaster is expending energy. And tossing the wrapper in the trash is an effort that for some constitutes billable labor.
But wait! There's a part of this testament of toil that's often left off. Maybe it can help put this work/play issue to rest. It says:
For in six days the Lord made the heavens
and the earth, the sea and all that is in them,
and rested on the seventh day; therefore
The Lord blessed the Sabbath day
And made it holy.
Hmmm... Six days, huh? Now we're way out in allegory land, because that's just not true.
As we now know, the earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Over time, the earth cooled. Water condensed into clouds and the oceans took shape. Earth was finally hospitable to life which remained microscopic for at least another billion years.
This commandment isn't talking about a day at all. It's talking about a process -- the process of creation, something we all do.
And the most important part of this lengthy law is the simple word for that stands as a coordinating conjunction between what we're called to do and what God did. Basically, this decree tells us that we're supposed to work in the same way God worked.
Just how does God work?
Here's the process. It involves three steps.
The first step is LET THERE BE. Ultimate Pure Expression -- not from a place of need, lack, fear, or insecurity -- but simply allowing the essence to come forward into expression.
The second step is IT IS GOOD. The Grand Designer of the Cosmos bringing the divine blueprint into creation. Of course, it can only be good!
The third step is LET IT GO and involves a deeper understanding of the symbolic word "Sabbath" or SHABBAT, which literally means a "ceasing" or "stopping."
To rest means to recognize the sacredness of what we create. It means to allow what has been created to have its own expression. We let it go and we let it grow, allowing it to become all that it's intended to be.
Honor your expression. Respect what you bring forth. Realize the sacredness of the life you create through who you are and what you do. Infuse all that you are into everything you do, knowing that you are of God, and everything you do is of God. It is sacred. It is divine. It is holy.