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That Smiling Man

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23

Going to the grocery store isn’t something I particularly enjoy. It’s just a mundane part of life—something that has to be done.

But there is one part of this task I’ve unexpectedly come to look forward to: checking out in Fred’s lane. Fred, you see, turns checkout into show time. He’s amazingly fast, always has a big smile, and even dances (and sometimes sings!) as he acrobatically flips (unbreakable) purchases into a plastic bag. Fred clearly enjoys a job that could be seen as one of the most tedious around. And for just a moment, his cheerful spirit brightens the lives of people in his checkout lane.

The way Fred does his job has won my respect and admiration. His cheerful attitude, desire to serve, and attention to detail all line up well with the apostle Paul’s description of how we are to work in Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

When we’re in relationship with Jesus, any job we have to do gives us an opportunity to reflect His presence in our lives. No task is too small . . . or too big! Tackling our responsibilities—whatever they may be—with joy, creativity, and excellence gives us an opportunity to influence those around us, no matter our job.  

Lord, help me to tackle everything on my plate today with grace, enthusiasm, and joy, knowing that my attitude may affect others in ways I’m not even aware of.

The best way to do satisfying work is to do it for the Lord.


In his letters, the apostle Paul will often soar in the atmosphere of heavy theology, and then at other times he brings it down to everyday life with practical instructions. Today’s passage is an example of the latter. The list of instructions given in Colossians 3:18–23 and a similar list in Ephesians 5:22–6:4 are known as household codes. In these passages Paul describes how to relate to each other in our various roles—as a spouse, child, father, slave, or master. Colossians 3:23 caps this code with a well-known verse that many of us use to remind us to work for the Lord at our jobs—whether the boss is difficult or in our corner, whether our coworkers support us or are trying to undermine our efforts. Working for the Lord, however, is not restricted to our places of work. Wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves, and masters are to fulfill their roles as to the Lord.

What might it mean for you to work for the Lord with joy as a spouse, child, or parent?

J.R. Hudberg

By |2018-07-18T14:39:56-04:00August 11th, 2018|
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