It seems like a dirty four-letter word everybody loves to hate because we spend so much time doing it. It’s inevitable that work is part of our daily routine. I admit my attitude towards work is not always positive; I allow myself to get lost in the mundane, miniscule, and lackluster responsibilities of life. But what if I change my perspective and look at work as a blessing instead of a curse?
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. ~ Colossians 3:22-25 (The Message)
The Message provides an excellent translation of Scripture here, but let’s look at it more simply.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. ~ Colossians 3:23 (New International Version)
Paul describes three common relationships: husband/wife, parents/children, and master/slave. I can understand the first two as I am a wife, parent, and child, but then I have to be reminded that ‘slavery’ in Biblical contexts often meant willingness to serve and respect the master rather than the ugliness of American history that has conditioned me to think of The Underground Railroad or tobacco plantations. If you have followed along with this blog series, you already know the ugliness of my slavery to food and how easily I succumb to temptation from the fridge or pantry. We all have our quirks, right?
But consider these three perspectives of our Scripture passage today:
WHATEVER YOU DO // Whatever the situation. Whatever the circumstance. Whatever the context. Whatever the relationship. Whatever we do – spouse/parent partnership; folding laundry; raising our son to be respectful; saying hello to a stranger; going to the gym every day; eating for sustenance rather than comfort – do it ALL for the glory and praise of Lord Jesus.
WORK WITH ALL YOUR HEART // I’ll be honest, I’m having one of the *those* days. I didn’t sleep well last night and the thought of going to the gym this morning is not high on my priority list. But I’m going anyway with a positive attitude to be productive as possible. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, from the mundane to the monumental, I am going to give it all I’ve got.
FOR THE LORD, NOT MAN // I am the world’s worst at trying to people-please. I give it my best effort only to be really disappointed. I drive myself crazy trying to impress others or earn their affection. A lot is probably due to my status as an only child, but I genuinely care what people think or say about me and I go to great lengths to make sure it is positive. But, as I’m learning every day, I cannot please everybody and my tribe of genuine support is built upon quality not quantity. In regards to authentic friendships, I’d rather have four quarters than 100 pennies. In order to be content and have fulfillment in our work, we must realize genuine satisfaction is found only in the Lord. Working for the praise of others is not our ultimate reward – our priority and focus should be above: heaven.
As unpredictable and moody humans can be, Jesus is our constant companion. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Whatever work I do today, whether it is housework (ugh!), nurturing a relationship, or improving my health, it’s an opportunity for me to honor Jesus Christ.