Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23
The magazine I was writing for felt “important,” so I struggled to present the best possible article I could for the high-ranking editor. Feeling pressure to meet her standards, I kept rewriting my thoughts and ideas. But what was my problem? Was it my challenging topic? Or was my real worry personal: Would the editor approve of me and not just my words?
For answers to our job worries, Paul gives trustworthy instruction. In a letter to the Colossian church, Paul urged believers to work not for approval of people, but for God. As the apostle said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24).
Reflecting on Paul’s wisdom, we can stop struggling to look good in the eyes of our earthly bosses. For certain, we honor them as people and seek to give them our best. But if we work “as for the Lord”—asking Him to lead and anoint our work for Him—He’ll shine a light on our efforts. Our reward? Our job pressures ease and our assignments are completed. Even more, we’ll one day hear Him say, “Well done!”
On your job, what pressures do you feel to please others or yourself? In what ways would your work improve on every level if you started working “as for the Lord”?
Heavenly Father, as I face job pressures, it’s easy to forget that I’m working for You. Redirect my heart and mind, so I put You first in all I do.
Paul’s instructions to slaves and masters (Colossians 3:22–4:1) fall in a section on rules for Christian households, including the relationship between husbands and wives and children and parents (3:18–4:1). Many ask why Paul didn’t condemn slavery here. It’s important to note that while he didn’t condemn it, he didn’t condone it either (3:23-25). Slavery was created by human beings and doesn’t represent God’s will for His creatures. The sheer fact that Paul instructed slaves and masters each in their turn is important and implies their mutual equality before God in the church. During Paul’s day, the Roman world was full of slaves; it’s estimated that at one point one-third of the residents of Rome were slaves. They became slaves as prisoners of war, convicts, or through debt, kidnapping, or other means. As William Hendriksen states, “[Paul] took the social structure as he found it and endeavored by peaceful means to change it into its very opposite.”