A very good morning to you my precious friends
Colossians 3 verses 23-25 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving
Some time ago someone asked me how do I cope with working over weekends as that is their best time of rest from work. I told them that I have Wednesdays off and that I have the best job that it is not a job, but service that the Lord has given me which I love.
In essence, these verses from Colossians are the Christian work ethic. We are commanded to do our best efforts, to work from our heart and soul at whatever we do. We are accountable to God and stewards of the gifts He has given us. Our work flows out of our gratefulness to Him.
When you ask someone today: Why do you go to work every day? They are likely to respond: So that I get paid. Many people see their daily work as a barrier to their recreational time. Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker: I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. They are saying that the main reason they work is to pay their debts. It is a good thing to pay your debts, but is that the main reason that we work? Others consider their job as a necessary evil which is simply to be tolerated. They look to the ‘week-end’ so that they have some ‘recreational’ time.
God instituted work with creation, prior to the Fall. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” After Adam and Eve sinned, work became toil (Genesis 3:17-19), but work itself is included in the “very good” part of creation (Genesis 1:31).
Throughout the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites specific instructions about how to do their work. He also gave instructions about providing for those who had less: Leviticus 23 verse 22 says “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God”. This command confirms the importance of work. God does not tell the people to harvest everything and then simply give food to the poor. Instead, He tells them to leave enough of the grain to allow the poor to work for themselves. Work has a way of giving us a sense of purpose, productivity, and dignity.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 says “If a man will not work, he shall not eat”; that is, the refusal of an able-bodied man to work should have the consequence that he lacks food. In verse 6 Paul says that an “idle” man who refuses to work should not be part of the church. In verses 7-8 Paul says that he and his companions set a good example of hard work: “We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you”.
As Christians we should work hard. Work is essential to life, and approaching work as God-given will give us more pleasure in it. We can work cheerfully and without complaining because we are working for the Lord who loves us and has redeemed us. A good work ethic can also be a witness to others (Matthew 5:16). The world takes notice of our efforts and wonders why we do what we do.
Everything we are – everything we do – must flow out of a relationship with the Lord. That’s because everything is ultimately to lead to God’s glory!
To do all this heartily as to the Lord means to recognize that all our gifts – all our abilities – have come from Him for His praise. We have been given the gifts and graces we possess to serve Him. We are to serve Him for what He has given us. It means that we acknowledge that you and I have been given certain talents in a particular field – and we have received talents in some area – to serve Him.
The Christian should do all his work heartily for the Lord. Work isn’t primarily about us, but about the Lord. Did He give to you an exceptional gift in music? Use it to the praise of God. Has He given you gifts in teaching? Then teach having the fear of God as the basis of that teaching! Acknowledge the Lord in those gifts and use them in His service.
We represent our Lord Jesus in the workplace. If we are Christ-followers, how we treat others and how diligently and faithfully we do our work reflects on our Lord. How well do yours and my actions fit with who He is? Our text calls us to give whole-hearted service in the Lord’s work in whatever place He has put you!
Today, let's clean up our lives, and even in the little things, let's remember that we work for God. Let's work on truly representing Him and doing as He would do, showing kindness and care for the people around us, and working on becoming truly good, inside and out and as Ecclesiastes 9 verse 10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
Let us pray:
Precious Lord, thank You that working in “Jesus’ name” implies that we live recognizing that He is our master, our boss, the one to whom we are ultimately accountable. We work for the You and not for human masters. Help us to always give honour to You for the gifts and talents that You have given us to serve you and each other. Please help us in whatever we do, to work at it with all our heart as we are working for You our Lord. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
Much love from Maurice and Margaret