How Do Christians Live Out Colossians 3:23 in Today's World?
- Anne Peterson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- Updated Aug 27, 2019
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. – Colossians 3:23
Many of us love this favorite scripture verse. But in a work-world full of demands, disappointments, and overload, how do we not only love the sentiment, but live the reality? Here are 6 encouraging things to keep in mind while you work ‘as for the Lord.’
1. Work heartily.
In the world, there are some who work for their paycheck. After all, we have to pay the bills. And they come without invitation, every month, without fail. But working heartily means you are putting your whole heart into it. And this is possible when you realize you are really serving God with anything you do.
For the person who works with clients or customers, you can smile and have a good attitude. And if you happen to be dealing with someone who gives you a hard time, remember what God tells us about how we’re to treat our enemies. They are still to be treated with respect.
Read 1 Peter 2:20. God explains if we are treated unjustly, but take it patiently, this is well-pleasing to him. Someone’s rudeness doesn’t give us the right to be rude. Do we feel like reacting? Yes, until we remember who we’re working for.
2. Work as unto God, not men.
When we are working as unto God, we can ask him for wisdom when we need it. Read James 1:5. God tells us wisdom is readily available to those who need it. With wisdom, we will know how to respond, instead of letting our feelings cause us to react.
When we are working for God, we will be more prone to be thankful. Each thing we do at our job is another opportunity to express our love to God.
Isaiah 55:8-9 reassures us that when God is the one in charge, we can rest in God’s timing as far as advancement with our job. God is infinite and his thoughts are not our thoughts. We can even trust him with our pay, knowing that God knows our needs.
3. Work without grumbling.
When we work as unto God, we need to do it without grumbling ( Philippians 2:14). And while we can sometimes hide some of our feelings, God still sees our hearts. Read 1 Samuel 16:7. When we are outwardly compliant, but inwardly resentful, our God can see this. And with that realization, we can ask him for help. After all, he cares about our hearts and attitudes.
When we have to do what we think is unfair, if we remember we are working as unto God, we can remind ourselves that God is sovereign and he sees everything that’s going on. When Joseph was treated unfairly in prison, he still had a good attitude and because of it, God honored Joseph’s attitude. Eventually, Joseph was given more responsibility and was treated differently than the other prisoners.
God was working with Joseph from the very first day he arrived. Joseph kept his eyes on God instead of looking around at others. He knew who he was ultimately serving.
4. Work without comparisons.
When the disciples started comparing themselves with each other, Jesus dealt with it in John 21:22. He told them that they needed to follow him. Our walk with God is individual and so are the journeys we take as we follow God.
Comparisons never help us. They can cause us to feel resentful if we think someone is being treated better than we are being treated. They can cause us to feel pride, if we think we are being favored.
When we accept that our walks are ours alone, we will be less tempted to compare ourselves with others.
From the time we are little and in school, we see comparisons all around us. In my family growing up, my father offered $5.00 to any of us who could get all A’s on our report cards. Only my sister was able to cash in on that offer, but I tried every year. One time I got all A’s, but in my excitement I got giddy and I wrote on the paper of the classmate who sat behind me. Mrs. Akin called me to the front of the room and asked me to bring my report card with me. As she handed it back to me, I was stunned to see that she had changed one of my A’s to a B. I told my dad that I truly did get all A’s, but he didn’t give me the $5.00.
Comparisons, are difficult, no matter what age we are.
5. Work to hear “well done.”
Everyone loves knowing the work they do is appreciated. Oftentimes, a person can work hard, giving it all their effort, but never hear one encouraging word. Working as unto the Lord, is important because one day we can actually hear, “Well done,” from God himself. And knowing it is God we are trying to please makes what our boss might think of less importance.
And yet, if we are working to please God, our earthly bosses are likely to be pleased as well.
Paul asked in Galatians 1:10, who are we seeking to please, men or God? I used to think it was possible to please both. That’s when I was a people-pleaser. But God tells us in Proverbs 16:7, that when our ways please him, even our enemies will be at peace with us.
So our focus should be on our maker, and he’ll take care of the rest.
6. Work with thankfulness.
When we work as unto God, our hearts will reflect it. We will be content and thankful because we know what God expects and we know he will empower us to do whatever he asks of us. The one we work for is our loving Father. The one who has always cared for and provided for us. Remembering that will cause our hearts to be grateful.
There are many people who for one reason or another do not have ‘good jobs.’ But when we know we are working for the Lord, we know the benefits will be great. God is gracious and full of lovingkindness.
God can also use our place of employment as another opportunity to enlarge heaven. Read 1 Peter 3:15. When we work as unto the Lord, people will notice a difference. And then we may get an opportunity to explain what that difference is. And all the while, God can be preparing the hearts of those around us.
Yes, it’s possible to work heartily as unto the Lord, but we need God’s help.
A prayer for us as we work:
Father, we want to thank you for giving us our jobs. Lord, we pray that you would give us grace each day for whatever we encounter. If we work with people, help our words to be gentle and kind. If we have physically demanding jobs, give us the strength we need. Lord, if one of our jobs is that of parenting, give us patience to raise our children up to know you. And Lord, if we are out of work right now, I pray that you provide us with the job you want us to have. Thank you, Father, for loving us as you do. We pray this in your son Jesus’ precious and Holy name. Amen.
Anne Peterson has held many jobs in her life. She thanks God for the privilege of writing and asks God for wisdom for every word she types. Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. She is a poet, speaker, published author of 14 books, including her memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope, as well as a volume of 3 books, He Whispers: Poetic talks with God. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and click on free Ebooks to choose one. Or connect with Anne on Facebook.
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