Davis Motor Sales banner ad
ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (9/1/13) - The first Labor Day celebration was observed in New York City in 1882. It was not intended to be the official end of summer. It was a movement to honor “the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” A bit more than a decade later, Labor Day became a National Holiday.

Not many years later, it became evident that the American worker was such an exceptional and efficient creature, that work hours would soon be reduced to mere shadows of their former oppression. For example, economist John Mayhard Keynes, in the teeth of the Great Depression, predicted that technological advancements would soon lead to a 15-hour work week.

In the mid-1960s, congressional leaders boldly predicted a two-day work week by the year 2000. That prediction has apparently only rung true for congressional leaders, as the average time workers spend on the job has ballooned over the years to nearly 50 hours per week.

Meanwhile, it is well known that our peers in Europe and other “developed” countries, enjoy bountiful quantities of leisure time (on average putting in 400 fewer annual work hours than Americans), while enjoying equal levels of productivity. Working more hours simply hasn’t translated to greater production or higher levels of satisfaction, and the predictions of “less work more rest,” is a farce for today’s laborers.

And while we mostly recognize the need to protect our health by eating right, staying hydrated, exercising, and the like, Americans are notorious for ignoring the body’s need for intentional times of rest. More so, we ignore our mental, emotional, and spiritual need for rest.

In the book of Genesis, the ancient writer says that on that final day of the first week, God rested. Was God tired? No, God set an example by abstaining from his creative work, and pausing to enjoy it. The word for rest, used in those Genesis accounts, can be translated “to soulify” or “to enhance one’s soul.” More practically it means “to catch one’s breath” or to “renew the spirit.” So when we pause to catch our breath, to renew our spirit, or recharge our souls, it is an imitation of God – it is worship.

Lettie Cowman, a devotional writer from a century ago, illustrates this so well with one of her stories from Africa. She wrote about an Englishman who was exploring the deepest jungles of the continent, traveling like British royalty. He had brought with him fine wines, his favorite foods, tons of books and parchments, furniture and clothing.

He had so much that he had to hire an army of strong men from the local villages to portage all this material through the jungle. On the first day of his grand safari he pushed the laborers at an exhausting, God-forsaken pace. He wanted to cover as much distance as possible, and he did exactly that.

As he lounged in his tent that evening, he concluded that if such a pace could be kept, why, he would see most of the continent, and his journey would be a quick one. But on the second morning, the hired Africans refused to move. They just sat there, and no amount of pleading, cursing, or bribery could make them move.

Finally, one of the young men explained that they were not especially tired. Rather, they had gone too far and too fast on the first day, and they had to “wait for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”

Ms. Cowman concluded her story with these words of reflection (and I remind you, her words are a century old): “This whirling, rushing life which so many of us live does for us what that first march did for those poor tribesmen. But here is the difference: They knew what they needed to restore life’s balance; too often we do not.”

So on this weekend that marks the official end of summer, don’t simply grill your burgers or down a few beers. Do less. Sit still. Take a nap. It will be an act of worship.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 6673

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 5741

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 25, 2015 5725

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 24, 2015 5689

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 5465

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 5167

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

February 26, 2015 2598

Man Accused of Holding Woman against Will,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 2555

Woman Charged for Allegedly Selling Hydrocodone

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 1665

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

in Hopkins News by Barry Franklin
February 26, 2015 1659

Area College Students Touched by Cancer are…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1640

Probation and Parole Violators - February 26,…

in Video by Crime Stoppers
February 26, 2015 1533

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 26, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 26, 2015 1367

Walmart Evacuated after Customer Alerts 911 of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1336

Super Sunday Hall of Fame Alumni Honored College…

in Top News For All Sites by Joyce Riggs
February 26, 2015 1026

Lions Man, Woman of Year Announced

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chris Findley
February 26, 2015 915

Gov. Beshear Announces NASCO Expansion in Bowling…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor