Labor Day has rolled around once again and a time to tip our national hats to those who clock in everyday to keep the country running. This became a national holiday in 1894 and has been celebrated ever since. In an age when dependable workers are increasingly hard to find, appreciation for those who take the jobs that must be done (Especially the yucky ones!) has grown. A single day each year seems inadequate, but it is a time to thank those who labor.
It is easy to take them for granted, especially the ones who work behind the scenes and those who do the unpleasant tasks. Let’s face it, there are some nasty jobs that very few of us are anxious to do. Among them is cleaning up other people’s garbage. It’s not my trash; why should I pick it up? Imagine what it would be like if everyone had that attitude. I didn’t break it, so I’m not going to fix it. Thanks to those we never see who tidy up our messes, especially the spiritual ones.
We all had a mess that we could not resolve: sin. There is not a soap in the world that could wash away the consequences of our own transgressions. We are left with the grit and grime of Satan’s fingerprints which are not simply external. That’s only part of the picture. Yes, we leave a trail of wreckage, but that’s not all. We have the internal damage of distorted values and twisted logic. We seek to hide but cannot. Guilt sets in. We search for an anesthetic (What is ours? Sex? Pornography? Illegal drugs? Legal drugs like alcohol? Food?) but there is none. We are desperate for a deep cleansing and realize we cannot do it, but who can?
Jesus, the Son of God, came for just that reason. He entered into flesh and blood to bring grace and truth. His mission was one of salvation and deliverance. He had every right to bring a sentence of condemnation but chose not to. Instead, He battled with the self-righteous and extended mercy to the sinful. He did not minimize sins. He would never do that because of its devastation that he experienced firsthand. Nails punctuated the sentence. Sin is brutal, and sinners need to be cleaned up. Only His blood can do that.
His mission did not end that day on the cross, nor did it stop at the empty tomb. He ascended to the right hand of God to continue. He is still on the job for His family. He is our advocate with the Father when we stumble and fall (1 John 2:1). He remains in the presence of God on behalf of Christians (Hebrews 9:24). He came two thousand years ago to clean up the mess of sin and has never stopped. Today and every Sunday, we remember. Happy Labor Day!