Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:22-24 ESV
An Act of Worship
Servanthood affects and influences all that we do, and governs the way we do it. It makes everything an act of worship.
This transforms our motives. We no longer do anything for anyone; we do all as unto the Lord, and for the Lord. I cook meals, not for people, but for the Lord Jesus Christ. I mow the grass in summer or shovel the walk in winter, and I do so for Him. We no longer work to please people; we work to please God. St. Benedict said we are to be hospitable but in so doing to receive and entertain guests as if they were the Lord Jesus Himself.
No Small Jobs
When work is worship it means there are no small or menial jobs. Cleaning the toilet in the name and for the fame of the Lord Jesus Christ makes the bathroom the Throne Room. (Pun intended.)
It means if others shirk the work and we find the task has fallen to us, we release our resentment and dedicate the task to God. They may be taking advantage of a situation, but we use the situation to our advantage. Not that we always endure such disrespect without protest but when we can do nothing about it we worship the Lord in that work. We are never victims, always victors.
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29 ESV
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11 NLT
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Proverbs 6:6 ESV
It is hard to do sloppy work for Jesus. It is hard to leave God tasks incomplete, unfinished. It is hard to grumble when a God job is also a hard job. It is almost impossible to turn work into worship and bitch and complain at the same time. My heart is not so pure as to succeed at any of this, but it sure does transform the task to do it as unto the Lord. Hopefully those who enjoy the result of our labours receive both a benefit and, in God's good grace, a blessing both natural and spiritual, in ways seen and unseen. May everything we do be done by His Grace and touched with His Glory.
Everything Is Sacred
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
When you do every task to the Glory of God it sanctifies every brush of the broom, every wipe of a cloth, every stroke of a keyboard on your computer, every circuit wired, every nail hammered, every pipe fixed, every mile driven. Nothing is secular; everything is sacred. It all becomes worship and worthy of our very best effort.
The Dignity of Work
There is a dignity to work. It is a virtue. It needs nothing beyond itself to establish its value. And those who work and work well deserve our honor and respect. Every person's work testifies to and is a measure of their character. Work is to be autographed with excellence and integrity. Give eight hours work for eight hours pay. People of honor and integrity work hard and well both alone and when supervised.
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41 ESV
Working hard and well means:
- If something needs doing get it started before it needs to be begun.
- Always do more than asked, more than expected.
- Finish the work before the deadline.
Don't be afraid to come in early, go home late. Be the one upon whom others can depend 100%, 100% of the time. Both God and man honor those who work with excellence.
Take initiative. Anticipate what needs to be done and do it before being asked. When asked get to the task immediately.
In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; Psalm 15:4 ESV
Our word is our bond. Say what you are going to do and do what you said you would, even if it is not to your immediate advantage. There are times when we agree to something and find the task requires more of us than we realized. We are blessed when we complete the work, without complaint.
And, having done all that, it is good to remember the following verses:
Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ Luke 17:7-10 ESV
Work carries a blessing both in the doing and the reward from doing. It gives strength to the body and improves self esteem. We feel better when doing it, and at the task completed well. There is joy in a job well done.