Monday, September 07, 2020

Laboring In Vain

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Happy Labor Day.

The Bible rates "labor" as a virtue---a good thing, as long as it is aligned with godly principles. In fact, Scripture teaches that the person who doesn't work shouldn't eat.

However, to celebrate works that are not aligned with godly principles is referred to as "vain" activity. Not good or productive.

Example: A New York pastor is leading his church in "vain", not productive activity. So are many others.

Some thoughts about "labor."

Be informed

Work is a good thing. We should work and celebrate labor as a virtue.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (3:10) reminding them, "even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat"---then the Apostle goes on to say "we hear that some among you are idle..."

My grandmother would often say, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."

Misplaced labor.

Rev. Kenneth Boller S.J. is pastor of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. He is now regularly leading his congregation to recite the "pledge for racial justice" after communion.

An effort that he says will bring about social justice and reconciliation.

The pledge:

DO YOU SUPPORT justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. DO YOU AFFIRM that white privilege is unfair and harmful to those who have it and to those who do not.

DO YOU AFFIRM that white privilege and the culture of white supremacy must be dismantled wherever it is present?

DO YOU SUPPORT racial equity, justice, and liberation for every person.

DO YOU AFFIRM the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Therefore, from this day forward . . .

WILL YOU strive to understand more deeply the injustice and suffering white privilege and white supremacy cause?

WILL YOU COMMIT to help transform our church culture to one that is actively engaged in seeking racial justice and equity for everyone.

WILL YOU make a greater effort to treat all people with the same respect you expect to receive.

WILL YOU COMMIT to developing the courage to live your beliefs and values of racial justice and equality.

WILL YOU strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from your thoughts and actions so that you can better promote the racial justice efforts of our church.

WILL YOU renew and honor this pledge daily, knowing that our church, our community, our nation, and our world will be better places because of my efforts.

The church council says this is "part of our self-examination" as we seek "to better understand 'white privilege' and how it operates to re-enforce racial injustice..."

"It is uncomfortable," the council says, "and often distressing for white people to recognize that simply being white confers a presumptive superiority at the expense of people of color."

And the council explains that white people often respond with; "Slavery ended in 1865. My family never benefited from black or brown labor. I've worked hard for everything I have" ---noting that white people try to "sidestep personal complicity in perpetuating the systems and institutions that support racial inequality."

The church's weekly class on the subject is taught by an ACLU activist.

Uninformed labor

In Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus commended Peter for coming to the correct conclusion about who Jesus really was, as Peter responded to the question, "Who do you say I am?"

Peter's answer, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," was commended by Jesus who told Peter and the other disciples that "flesh and blood hath not revealed" it to Peter, " Father who art in heaven."

And Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Jesus was praising Peter for his accurate response while introducing His work of building the church on Himself. See 1 Cor. 3:11.

Apart from that Truth, churches labor in vain.

As an example St. Francis Xavier Church says: 

"We have striven to be inclusive and respectful of all people in a conscious and purposeful way, resulting in "providing a spiritual home for members of the LGBTQ+ community..."

There is no amount of self-introspection or reflection that will produce good moral results. Good results only come through acceptance and deliverance and restoration from sin through Jesus Christ.

Not affirmation or self-improvement efforts.

Ben Franklin's words on labor.

Our Founding Fathers couldn't agree on what kind of a country they would hand to the people, now that the Revolutionary War had been won. In their confusion and deep disagreement, Ben Franklin---the oldest and least religious of the group, stood and famously said this:

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? Benjamin Franklin: Signer of the Constitution and Declaration of IndependenceWe have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.


The "gates of hell" are prevailing in cities across America today, because too many churches have abandoned the truth that Christ is indeed the Son of the living God---and have abandoned His Great Commission to go into all the world and preach and teach that message---the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Crucified and risen from the dead.

ACLU activists teaching in the church and self-introspection and shaming will not save us or our culture. It amounts to nothing more than the "builders of Babel."

The most important labor or work biblical Christians can do is to get on our knees and be sure "The Lord" is building this house---otherwise we labor in vain.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.