Labor Day is a time where many take time out to enjoy time with the family and friends, so I actually didn’t have a holiday focused message that went out on that day. I was still kind of coming down off of a high from my time in worship from the day before in church. Many people probably spent the day rememberingloved ones who served valiantly in the military, whether they yet live or not. Others may have just decided to relax, curl up with a good book or whatever they feel like doing to pass the time if they aren’t among those who actually had to work in spite of it being a holiday.
But as you go back to normal routines this week, whether your work is in the marketplace, the temple, or whether you are retired from your years of labor, I want you to consider the following. There are always people among you. With that knowledge, ask yourself, “Do I know those people who labor among me?” There was an admonishment from Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians that they should, “get to know those who labor among you [recognize them for what they are, acknowledge and appreciate and respect them all]”.
When was the last time you actually too the time to get to know someone, truly know them? I’ve gone places where the emphasis or should I say the assumed culture was that of people who had a heart to know you, but the reality was that there was little evidence that it took place. How empty and cold is that, to know that you are not valued or even acknowledged, even among those for whom it was supposed to be the prescribed culture.
One of the things that I love about the example we have in Christ is that he made a point to get to know the twelve who followed him the closest. He knew Matthew was a tax collector was despised by many, so he didn’t allow him the burden of handling the money. He knew Peter would deny him, but he knew also that by keeping him close, Peter would rise up at the appointed time to lead like no other. He even knew Judas betray him, yet had Judas only waited three days, there is no telling what his story might have looked like. Nevertheless, each of the twelve served their purpose. They each played a part in history and give rise to lessons that we can learn about ourselves today.
So many people around you are gifted with skills and abilities, possessing knowledge and talents that are often underutilized or underappreciated. Recognizing the people around you, acknowledging them and taking the time to celebrate them adds so much value and costs so little in effort. A heart that is open enough to not only see others around them is also in a position to lift them up. To be tuned in to those that are among you opens you to opportunities to bless as well as to be blessed.
QUESTION: Do you know those who labor among you? What can you do to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate them?