How Can I Glorify God Through My Work?
Today we will discuss, “how can I glorify God through my work! Part of our stewardship is the stewardship of our time and talents. Our work encompasses our time and talent, so we can have the treasure to provide for our family, give to our local church, and bless others through our generosity. In doing this, and doing it well, we bring Glory to God.
We can glorify God with the vocation that He has placed us in.
Back in episode 046 we talked through the theology of work starting with Adam. We titled that episode “Adam called to work”. If you have not listened to it, go back and review and see that our work has a purpose and a good part of that purpose is to Glorify God. In this episode, we want to see how we can make our work, our vocation, Glorify God.
Paul, in Colossians chapter 3, speaks to this specifically. He uses the relationship between a slave and a master as a solid example and challenge to make our work not only serve our employer, but more importantly, God!
Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Whatever you do
This is an inclusive statement. “Whatever” includes anything. This was specifically written, in context to the slaves in their obedience to their masters, keying into the employer/employee relationship. The employee is to process their “whatever” put before them.
Now, there is a limit to the “whatever.” If an employer is asking the employer to do something that is questionable, or clearly sin, there has to be a boundary that the employee puts into place. There is a qualifier in this “whatever,” and that is if it will not bring about question upon one’s character or requesting one to do/say something that is not glorifying to God and even sinful! The best focus on this is your job description as you stay in that boundary, ALL that you do in that boundary, and for your employer, would be included within this “whatever” statement.
Work at it with all your heart
The Greek word for “heart” literally means “out from the soul.” (Wuest’s and Robertson’s Word Pictures)
It speaks to not just the work, but doing the work through one’s inner self, mind, throughs, feelings, your whole being! In Ephesians 6:7, Paul says that one is to “serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord and not men.” Robertson states that this variation of this word in Ephesians (same word, with a variation), means “with good will”
Notice that it says “ALL” your heart! Which It means that one is to put their “all” into what they are doing. Not half-hearted. Not second class. Not without pouring yourself into it. In this, you are going ALL IN. It means that it is done right the first time!
I would go as far as it is something that you would be extremely proud of, that you would want to, and actually show off what you did or accomplished!
As working for (unto) the Lord, not for men
Clearly, an employee would like to please their boss (their employer) with the work that they do. They look forward to words similar to this from their employer: “Good job, well done, excellent work.” Usually, the employee is interested in pleasing the boss! But here, Paul is saying the real Boss, the real Employer that you ought to be pleasing, is the Lord! When we do our work, we ought not think that the boss is looking over our shoulder at what we are doing. We ought to think that it is the LORD that is watching us, and it is from HIM that we would love to hear: “Good job, well done, excellent work.”
Working unto Lord is a game-changer! You think that your employer has high standards? Think about the Lord! His standards are much, much higher.
I like what is said in the Life Application Bible Commentary about this passage: “Slaves had a variety of tasks—running errands, caring for or teaching children, cleaning, preparing meals, or doing menial work. Yet Paul gave their jobs a new dignity because these slaves would do their work for the Lord, serving the Lord Christ” (Barton, Comfort. Life Application Bible Commentary).
So what about us? Do we serve with our bosses with that same high dignity, knowing that ultimately we are doing our work for God? It causes us to think and work differently, more effectively, and more efficiently.
Receive an inheritance as a reward
Context is key. Remember that Paul just a few verses prior to this was breaking out in his writing specifically toward those that are slaves. A slave, almost always, is NOT inherently a part of the family they are serving. They are workers for that family. They do not receive any “family benefits” at all. Because they are a “worker” for the family, and NOT part of the family, there is no inheritance being passed down to them from the employer. All inheritances will go to the heirs, the family members!
Paul speaks to this, and I can only speculate that the reason why he does is because there was in the recent past, or currently is a conversation that was brought to his attention where the slaves were discussing inheritances and their lack of it from 1) being a slave, and 2) not having any possessions/family possessions that would be passed on to them, or they could pass on to others in their immediate family. I like what the Life Application Bible Commentary says about this part of the verse: Slaves had little, if any, opportunity to get out of slavery, and they received little, if any, monetary compensation for their work. Obviously, they had no inheritance in this world, but Paul reminded the Christian slaves that they would ultimately be rewarded by Christ with their deserved inheritance as children of the true, eternal King.
Inheritances and rewards are a motivating factor! For the slaves of that day, and also for us today, rewards are a huge incentive (not that we need anything more than forgiveness of sins and eternal life!) But let’s talk for a moment about Bond-Servants of the Lord: “the Mosaic Law allowed an indentured servant to become a bondservant voluntarily: “If the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life” (Exodus 21:5-6). Throughout the New Testament, the word bondservant, slave, or servant is applied metaphorically to someone absolutely devoted to Jesus. Paul, Timothy, James, Peter, and Jude all describe themselves as “bondservants of Christ” (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1, NKJV). Believers today should still consider themselves bondservants or slaves of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6; 2 Timothy 2:24). He is our Lord, and our allegiance is due to Him alone. As bondservants, we renounce other masters (Matthew 6:24) and give ourselves totally to Him (Matthew 16:24). (GotQuestions.org).
Though a Bond-Servant still does not get an inheritance, there is something that is important about this “willing” submission to being “owned” by another. This “willing submission” to the “owner” makes you theirs FOR LIFE! You are giving up autonomy, your own desires, you are even giving up your personal “ownership.”
By doing this, in the real world, there still is NO inheritance coming to the bond-servant! But in God’s economy, there is not just rewards for faithfulness. There is, according to this passage, and INHERITANCE that comes to the one that serves the Lord first and foremost, and doing so wholeheartedly.
You are ultimately serving Christ
As we strive to understand the question, “how can i glorify God through my work,” we must understand for whom we are working. To emphasize and to make it clear, Paul here speaks to our servitude is unto non-other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The one that loves us like no other. The one that died for us so that we could have our sins forgiven and be with Him forever more in heaven one day. The one that is the giver of our future, our inheritance, and rewards. We are not serving our earthly masters ultimately, we are serving our Lord, the King of Kings! This is how we glorify God through work.
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