Of the nearly 100,000 construction workers it took to build the Panama Canal, only one went on to become the Southern Baptist Convention's president and preach what was perhaps the 20th century's most famous sermon: R.G. Lee.
At the 100th anniversary of the canal's 1914 opening, Lee's labors and vigorous work ethic can add a spiritual dimension to Labor Day lore.
"Everyone who knew Dr. Lee associated a strong work ethic with him," Charles Fowler, pastor of the Memphis-area Germantown Baptist Church and a Lee scholar, told Baptist Press. "One of the stories that people enjoy hearing most is how he, in order to pay for college, left to go and work for a little less than a year on the Panama Canal as a construction worker."
Lee, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis from 1927 to 1960, was best known for his sermon "Payday Someday," which used the story of Ahab and Jezebel from 1 and 2 ...