I can’t think about Labor Day without thinking of my Grandpa Eggebrecht. Growing up in an environment of white collar workers, I wasn’t around many people who used their hands and gave their sweat to make a living. But my Grandpa Eggebrecht was different. He worked hard to provide for his family: my grandma, my dad, and my dad’s twin sister.
My dad’s family never had much money as he was growing up. But that wasn’t for my grandfather’s lack of work. Way back in the “old days” he had a coal delivery service. I have a picture of his truck above my desk with “Eggebrecht Coal and Fuel” painted on the side. He would drive around town shoveling coal into the shoots that went down into people’s basements. That coal would be burned in Milwaukee furnaces to heat homes. Can you imagine how hard that work was on those cold Milwaukee days?
He was also something of an entrepreneur. In addition to the coal business, at one time he also owned a liquor store. For a time he was a bartender. Anything to make a buck. By the time I was on the scene he was a custodian at a nice, suburban public school. My grandpa could fix anything. I don’t know where those genes went, but they sure weren’t passed down to me.
What was passed down to me were some of his tools and the knowledge that work is a good thing. Isn’t that the point of Labor Day? It’s a day to celebrate good, honest work. So many people dream of retirement when they don’t have to work anymore. But work is a good thing.
In fact, there was work in this world even before Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. Check out Genesis 2:15. Work:
- brings purpose to life
- creates camaraderie
- gives direction to our days
- makes a place for us to use gifts and talents
- delivers a sense of accomplishment
It’s only when we work at cross purposes with our gifts and talents, or at cross purposes with other people, that our work becomes unhappy. Though people retire, it is often best for them to continue on with some kind of “work” that brings purpose and pleasure to one’s life. I can’t imagine retiring and then sitting around doing nothing. I’ll be happy to continue writing and serving in ways that help others.
So after Labor Day, let’s go back to work with a sense of appreciation and purpose. Let’s remember that work is a gift. Though there may be frustrations let’s think about the purpose it gives us, the camaraderie we share with others, the direction it gives our day, the place it provides for our gifts and talents, and the sense of accomplishment we will feel at the end of the day or a job well done.
What do you appreciate about your work?