The word “labor” has many meanings. It can refer to workers, labor unions or all the wage-receiving workers in our country. What do you think of labor unions? Do you have a generally positive, negative or neutral idea of labor unions? Do you have unions in your native country? How do they function?
The word “labor” also can mean work. What kinds of labor do you do in your native country? What kinds of labor do you do here in the U.S.? If you are retired or not working now, please tell about work you’ve done in the past. If you are not working now, describe the kind of work you would like to have in the future. What are your short-term and long-term goals or projects in your work? What is your main contribution to the work of your organization? If you are working as a parent or volunteer, describe your role in your volunteer organization or family.
Now is your chance to tell your partners about either your own or a friend or spouse’s labor. This time, I’m referring to the birthing process. If you’ve had a baby or helped someone through the process, give your description of the labor you’ve witnessed.
Other meanings of the word “labor” are “to move slowly and with difficulty”, ”to work hard”, or “to develop in too great detail” (to labor or belabor a point). Give examples of these meanings of the word “labor”.
What kinds of labor are enjoyable for you? What kinds of labor are not enjoyable? Consider the whole range of labor (not just the work you get paid for) including activities like fixing a car, cooking dinner, planning a party, designing a yard, planting a tree, driving a car, catching a fish, studying a foreign language, counseling a friend or altering a dress. What kind of labor is enjoyable for you? What kind of labor is not? What makes the difference between labor you enjoy and labor you don’t enjoy?
Childbirth is a favorite metaphor in the Bible.
Speaking of his death, Jesus says, “You will cry and be full of sorrow while the world is full of joy. You will be sad but your sadness will turn into joy. A woman giving birth to a baby has pain. This is because her time to give birth has come. But when her baby is born, she forgets the pain. She forgets because she is so happy that a baby has been born into the world. That’s the way it is with you.” John 16:20-21
God speaks through a prophet: “For a long time, I have been quiet . . . But now, like a woman having a baby, I groan. I gasp and pant. I will completely destroy the mountains and hills. I will dry up everything that grows there . . . Some people trust in statues of gods. They say to them, “you are our gods.” But they will be dishonored. They will be put to shame.” Isaiah 42:14-17
*** This question is for men and women! Give an example of something you have given birth to – a project, a product or a dream that you worked towards. What kinds of preparations did you do? What kind of labor pains did you suffer in the process? Was the result worth all the pain?