Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to earn a medical degree. Yet during her lifetime (1831–95), she recalls being “ignored, slighted and rendered insignificant.” However, she remained devoted to healing and fulfilling her purpose. Crumpler affirmed that although some people might choose to judge her based on her race and gender, she’d always have a “renewed and courageous readiness to go whenever and wherever duty calls,” and that she did. She believed that treating women and children and providing medical attention for freed slaves was a way to serve God. Sadly, she didn’t receive formal recognition for her accomplishments until nearly a century later.
There are times when we’ll be overlooked, devalued, or unappreciated by those around us. Biblical wisdom reminds us, however, that when God has called us to a task, we shouldn’t focus on gaining worldly approval and recognition but should instead “work at it with all [our] heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). When we focus on serving God, we’re able to accomplish even the most difficult tasks with fervor and gladness in His power and leading. We can then become less concerned with receiving earthly recognition and become more eager to receive the reward only He can provide (v. 24).
When have you felt the good you did went overlooked? How can you practice keeping God at the forefront of your activities?
Heavenly Father, thank You for calling me to do good things for You. Help me to focus on what You’ve called me to do.
For further study, read Get Outside—Work.
Paul’s instructions to work “with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23) flow from the foundational truth that in Jesus “there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (v. 11). Many thinkers, like Aristotle, argued that service to those with authority or greater social power is based on the inherent superiority of the person with more power. Instead, Paul said that while social hierarchies may persist prior to Jesus’ return, all believers are of equal dignity and worth under Christ (vv. 11–12). Doing work with a heart of service to Jesus, the true Lord of both those with greater social power and those with less (4:1), allows each person to serve with dignity and purpose.
Learn more about how to embody Christ in your workplace.