Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Colossians 3: 23 (ESV)


Work is described in many different ways. Not very many of them are pleasant or positive. It is often thought of as a burden that most of us need to bear or at best as a necessary evil, an interruption in the life that we are meant to enjoy. We go to work, we face the Monday morning blues because that is when we go there, and we labor in the salt mines for that is an ultimate descriptor of the futility of being enslaved by a job. More frustrations and disappointments are encountered on the job than on the golf course or than are found in parenting. Relational strife is harder to resolve with a coworker or a boss than it is with a sibling or a spouse. We do it nonetheless because we need the income, and we do it because there is something wired into most people that compels us to be productive and to contribute in some way to our society.


So, it seems that Paul must have been living in a fantasy world when he wrote this idea about working heartily. Either that, or he was doing what people accuse preachers of doing, that is, speaking in high minded yet utterly impractical concepts and terms. Yet, if Paul was anything, he was practical in a real life oriented sort of manner. Paul was a man who said what he thought and who fully understood that all of the things that he wrote about as were related to living as followers of Christ were possible only in and through the presence of the Holy Spirit and by the work of Christ in us. Even when it came to things that seem to be almost completely outside of the realm of the achievable, where real transformation of perspective are required, are made ordinary and real in Christ.


Like any aspect off life that operates in discord with the way that Christ calls upon His people to live, our attitudes and expectations regarding work are things that we can surrender to the Lord. The cross of Christ, in fact, redeems these parts of daily life so that the trials, struggles, and stresses of our jobs are reformed into opportunity for Christ to become evident and for His name to be glorified in our world. The work that we have is a part of God’s garden-given gift of purpose in this world. The difficulty that we encounter in that work is an aspect of our sinful rebellion against that same God, and like all of the trials that came to us because of our sinfulness, this one is covered by the grace that God pours out on us in Christ. So, as the week begins, we can pour our full hearts, minds, and souls into the job at hand, for Christ is in the details and goes before us into the relationships that we encounter in working for the Lord.