Thoughts on Labor Day 2009 (repost 2012(

For those who believe that the Bible does not contain thoughts on social justice, has never read it. (Read Amos). I spent three years with the coal mining union as their community organizer, meeting pastors and other ministers in a bid to attain a more fair system of organizing – and I have come to appreciate Labor Day.

Below are my favorite passages on Labor relations – including one new one, which if interpreted in a different light, demands a little shake up to the social order every now and then.

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 RSV)

And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien– Because they do not fear Me,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5 NKJ)

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. (James 5:1-7 NKJ)

And then:

“There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly!  (Luke 18:2-8a NLT)

Sometimes you have to shake up the system to get Justice. The Widow lived in an extreme patriarchal system, giving her little to no rights – but she was constant in her demand for justice. She fought against at least two things that we know of – the unjust act with her adversary and the system which she lived in. Yet, like all those who yearn for justice, she labored on and  won over both injustices.

To all those who labor…

God bless you.

Post By Joel Watts (10,058 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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16 thoughts on Thoughts on Labor Day 2009 (repost 2012(

  1. One of your favorite holidays? Interesting, I don’t think I have ever heard that from an American before. I read Amos today this book is grand, the universal justice of God! It appears the “judgment” would fall on them as well (2:6). And yet because of this special place of God’s providence, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (3:2) This book is sober to us in the so-called Judeo-Christian free world, God will and must judge us!
    Fr. R.

  2. Amen, my comment was a complementary in this age of dullness to God’s justice. But, it is God’s justice in the end, and not man’s..yes? This fallen world does not honor God in reality, but when it does with “His” light, there is blessing! Oh God bring us your light & life yet again!
    Fr. R.

  3. Your right there, but also GOD’s justice WILL come! We both know it, as men and shepherds of God! God always gets the last word! May it be with mercy and not with justice for His redemptive people!
    Fr. R.

  4. Christ is our “justice” and “judgment”…”The just for the unjust, that HE might bring us to God”! (1 Peter 3:18). Redemption is ongoing for the people of God. Can we who believe ever tire of our God? In Christ…never!
    Fr. R.

  5. Ah…but Fr. Robert, I’m not the normal American. I would prefer the translation of justice, but I get the picture. Amos is essential, I believe, in developing the idea of God’s justice.

  6. Amen, Fr. Robert. I believe that people believe if they ignore God’s justice long enough, it may never come. Eventually, maybe if it doesn’t ever come, God doesn’t exist.

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