Whatever You Do, Work Heartily
DUDLEY HALL — 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 3:23-24
His smile in the midst of the hard work made us wonder what was up with him. It was hot, dusty, smelly, and loud. If it weren’t for the paycheck, no one would have been on the job—except him. He laughed, sang, and was eager to help out when others needed it. “So, what’s up with you?” Fred asked, finally. “Oh, the gospel got all the way down to my work.” He said.
The partnership has been restored. God created mankind to be his partner in developing what he had made. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did life together with God as they loved him, each other, and the work they were given to do. But, as a result of their sin, work took on the burden of toil as they fought the hostility of sin and its curse. But, that is not the end of the story.
Sadly, history records our many attempts to secure our bread through our work, only to find ourselves slaves of it. Just like sin has perverted other aspects of life, work has been considered a curse. People have envisioned heaven, not primarily as a state of conscious enjoyment of God, but rest from their work. As a result, it has been difficult to form societies that consistently value the quality of work. There is pressure to get as much as we can in wages while working as little as possible. Greedy masters demean workers as they demand much and repay little. This tends toward cutting corners and poor quality work, as well as poor quality relationships between employers and employees.
Does the gospel of Jesus affect work? Is it only about our spiritual life and going to heaven, or does the new creation include a new perspective of work—on earth, now? Paul the apostle told the Christians in Colossae that just like their marriages and homes were drastically affected by the gospel, so was their work. In the reconciliation of the cross-event, something supernatural occurred. Even though all of creation was not yet relieved of the effects of the original fall, redeemed people were restored to do life with God without shame and guilt. These new creations could, like Adam and Eve, work to make the world a blessed place as partners with God. They can do everything in his presence and to his glory. They work for him, looking only to him for their reward. When one works for the Lord Christ, he is their ultimate paymaster. They are free to bless their employer and their fellow employees because they have been equipped and supplied with everything they need to honor their Lord.
As this new reality dawns on workers, they realize that a day on the job can be as exhilarating as a day at church. After all they are just as focused on working unto to the Lord as they are singing unto the Lord. Though there are still some thorns in the ground both physically and relationally, they are again on the job of developing the creation as God’s human partners. They have heaven’s resources as tools to get the job done. Even in physical tiredness, we can rest in the assurance that we are doing what we were created to do.