Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24 NLT
I’m not a big fan of reality shows. But, several years ago one captured my attention. The program, “Undercover Boss” follows an owner of a company as they work in disguise within their own business. Some situations cause anxiety, while others provide a sense of approval. The clandestine boss gets to see the character and quality of employee’s from an “up close” and “first hand” perspective.
A while back, long-time friend and great thinker Matt Willmington shared some insights, “a Christ-follower doesn’t sit idle at work. They don’t say, ‘There’s nothing to do.’, ‘I don’t like the work and it’s not in my skill set.’ or ‘I don’t know what my boss wants me to do.'” He continues, “Ask for more, do more, dream about ways to improve your task or assignment. Always leave it better than you found it.”
Paul instucts the Colossians of God’s perspective of work for the believer . . . we “work willingly at whatever we do”. (Col 3:23) Our willingness originates from our work’s Master and our work’s meaning.
The Real Boss. Paul clearly defines the real Boss. We are to work “as though you were working for The Lord rather than people”. Tim Keller reminds us, “If our identity is in our work, rather than Christ, success will go to our heads, and failure will go to our hearts.” In his letter to a young disciple, Paul coaches Timothy with the following instruction, “This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.” (1 Tim 4:10 NLT) Remember that “the Master we are serving is Christ”. (Col 3:24 NLT)
The Real Business. What we do at work and how we do it is not for our notoriety, but for God’s . . . It’s not building our kingdom, but His Kingdom . . . It’s not for our glory, but for His glory. Paul writes, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31 NLT). There must be a divine meaning for our daily mission. Paul continues by describing the desire of his duties, “I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.” (1 Cor 10:33 NLT). George Macdonald writes, “It is our best work that God wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. I think he must prefer quality to quantity.” Our work habits and work ethics are to reflect His workmanship.
The Real Blessing. A strong work ethic not only provides us with an everyday blessing, but an eternal one, as well. In Eugene Peterson’s The Message, he gives some additional thoughts, be “confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance . . . The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (Col 3:24-25 MSG). Solomon writes, “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” (Prov 14:23 NLT) Paul reminds the believers in Corinth, “Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58 NIV)
Paul encourages the followers in Colosse, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17 NLT).
Patrick Lai with Business As Mission reminds us, “God receives work as worship done unto Him. Put simply: work is worship.” Let’s worship Him today.
Don’t be defined by your work . . . let your work be defined by you.