If you were working over this holiday weekend, please accept an extra measure of thanks from your colleagues who you helped to enjoy an extra-long weekend. We appreciate your extra service.

Unofficially, Labor Day marks the end of summer and beginning of the fall. Schools are back in session, and projects that were idling during summer holidays are back in full gear. As we turn our attention to the next few months I want to thank all of you for the way in which you bring passion, competence, and excellence to everything we do here at Adventist HealthCare. You are not just our hands and feet—you are our heart and soul. You are the ones who enable us to fulfill the mission that defines us.

Perhaps taking a pause at Labor Day provides us with an opportunity to affirm the powerful contribution workers make to the economy and strength of our nation. As a faith-based organization, it also allows us to reflect on our work as a God-given gift that flows from being made in God’s own image. Our work is our obligation, but it is also our privilege. From the very earliest verses of the scripture, God is seen at work—first in the creation of the world and humankind, and then in our everyday activities, our work.

What emerges from the scripture is a sense that there is dignity and value in every vocation, every way in which man uses his time to be a reflection of the image of God. I like to think we are responding to a divine calling in our work every day, every shift, in every interaction we have with our patients and those who come to us for care. Our labor is a response to a calling that is divine. As suggested in our mission statement, our work is that way in which we “demonstrate God’s care.”

I love the part in the Biblical story of Adam and Eve where they are given a garden to “cultivate and keep.”  The phrase is an excellent description of work well done. “Cultivate” means to do all the right things to make something grow, and to cultivate effectively means to employ a wide array of tools, skills, and disciplines. “Keep” means to sustain a healthy status. Aren’t those two qualities at the very heart of what we do each day?

I hope that you had a wonderful Labor Day. For those  who worked over this weekend, think of it as an opportunity to “cultivate and keep” those responsibilities your vocation assigns you. If your weekend offered you an extra day of rest from work, I hope it you had a moment or two to reflect on the value of our work and our contribution to the world around us.

As we round the corner into fall, may we approach the tasks we’ve been given in workmanlike ways that benefit those around us.  And may all that we do be a demonstration of God’s care.