Abounding in the Lord’s Work
What’s the most important part of your job? Whether you punch in at a factory, report to an office, labor in a field, or work at making a home, what’s most significant about your work? If you’re a Christian, then the answer is this: that you “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
Work is an inevitable part of life. It is something we were created to do (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). But our view of our work is transformed, rescuing us both from idleness in it and idolatry of it, when we understand this truth: that we don’t ultimately work for our bosses or bank accounts; we work for Jesus. It is Him we aim to honor above all else. When we understand this, then our every occupation is instilled with dignity, and we can abound in the work of the Lord in whatever we do (1 Corinthians 15:58). Raising children is the Lord’s work. Selling paint is the Lord’s work. Managing staff is the Lord’s work. Realizing that we work for the Lord Jesus first and foremost can make a big difference every morning as we rise to our labors and every evening as we rest from them.
Of course, it’s easy to be discouraged in our work and frustrated by our work. The thorns, thistles, and cursed ground of Genesis 3 are all too apparent some days. But
1 Corinthians holds out the hope to us that when we labor for the Lord, our work is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). No work done for Him is ever wasted. God weaves all that we do in His sight, and for His glory, into the great story of what He is doing in His world.
Paul reminds us, though, that evidence of success in the Lord’s work may never be fully apparent in this life. In fact, the things that we think indicate success may just be hoodwinking us! We can see an annual bonus given, a promotion secured, or a sales target hit; we cannot see the eternal reward to be given when we reach our inheritance, nor all that God is doing through us. So we must live by faith, trusting that He is watching all our labors and is pleased when we serve Him, and that He is at work in all our labors and is using what we do to further His purposes.
In whatever vocation God has called you to at present, then, make it your highest aim to honor Jesus in how you do your job. Aim to please your boss and your clients, certainly—but when each new workday begins, don’t forget who is really to be honored by your effort. Labor “by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). For, whatever it is that you will be doing today, you can be serving the Lord Christ as you do it—and that is where real job satisfaction is to be found.
Bondservants and Masters
5Bondservants,1 obey your earthly masters2 with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant3 or is free. 9Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master4 and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
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