Celebrating Labor Day with God

May 1st is a national public holiday in most countries as Labor Day or another similar name, save for a few, like the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September. For the Catholic Church, this day is also one of the feast days of St. Joseph, the Worker (and foster father of Jesus), a humble carpenter from Nazareth.

In addition to giving honor to workers, employees, and professionals who contribute to the economic and social good in one’s country, Labor Day is a good time to seek God’s help so that we can see our work from His viewpoint. I guess, we can say that, in general, work is not always something that is exciting and interesting, especially if we think or feel that our work is not really meant for us. It is likely, that some or most of us tend to focus on the negative aspects of our work, that we spend our time thinking that somewhere out there, there must be something else better for us to do. If this is the case, we can end up bored, burnt out, or even angry about our work.

Looking at our work from God’s point of view, we will have the right attitude toward our work. In all his actions, St. Joseph was clear that he was serving God and not man, a trait that defines this silent worker.

In his Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul reminds believers, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Col 3:23, NIV) St. Josemaria Escriva also says, “Your work must become a personal prayer”. Whatever kind of work we do, and whoever our superior or supervisor is, it is the Lord whom we are serving.

Having the right attitude toward our work allows us to fulfill our responsibilities with love and enjoy the work we are doing. It makes us grateful that God has given us our job, and because it is from God, we can work with dignity and honor in fulfilling our duties. We can give our best in all that we do, knowing that we are not merely working hard for ourselves or for anyone else, but for God.

With the right attitude and hard work, success is not far off. At times, we might be echoing the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.” But we can have the confidence to say as well, “Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” (Is 49:4, NIV) With success comes prosperity, a chance for us to be of more blessing to others through the work of our hands.

Marj Baynosa is a chemical engineer and educator, who loves reading and writing in her spare time, especially on finance, faith, and other seemingly mundane things.

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