Many of us don't look forward to our jobs. Dr. Stanley explains that when we shift our attitudes, we can experience real joy and satisfaction—bringing glory to God no matter who provides our paycheck. Learn to serve God regardless of your job title, and watch Him transform your dread into delight.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR WORK
KEY PASSAGE: Colossians 3:22-25 | Colossians 4:1
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Exodus 20:9-11 | Proverbs 14:23 | Proverbs 22:29 | Matthew 20:25-28 | Luke 6:27-31 | Romans 13:1 | Romans 14:10-12 | 2 Corinthians 5:10 | Philippians 2:5-8 | 2 Thessalonians 3:12 | Hebrews 6:10
Since we should provide for ourselves and others, we all ought to work.
God ordained man’s labor from the beginning of creation, and we’re all responsible to do whatever job He’s given us, whether in the home, the church, or the workplace. The important issue is not so much what we do, but how we do it.
Since this is our common responsibility, we should learn how to get the most out of our work. Some people think the goal is to make as much money as possible, but God’s purposes for work include much more than merely gaining financial wealth.
The Lord uses our employment, whether at home or in the workplace, for a variety of reasons: to develop the skills and abilities He’s given us, to make a valuable contribution to others and society, to build our character through the challenges and stresses of our jobs, and to teach us how to interact with people in a godly fashion and build relationships with them.
How can you get the most out of your work?
Since God established work and achieves His purposes through our labor, He alone knows the best way for us to carry out our tasks, and Colossians 3:22-4:1 contains His instructions. This passage is addressed to Christian slaves and masters. When Paul wrote this letter, slavery was widespread in the Roman Empire—perhaps half of the population. Although our culture has changed, the following biblical principles outlined in this passage can be applied to employers and employees.
1. View yourself as a servant. “Slaves, obey those who are your human masters in everything, not with eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” (3:22). This is contrary to our society’s beliefs. It values rights, independence, and prominence. No one wants to be a servant.
But Jesus promoted a servant heart. He told His followers, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles domineer over them, and those in high position exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wants to become prominent among you shall be your servant, and whoever desires to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28).
As Christians, we are to have the same humble attitude Christ had (Phil. 2:5-8). When we come to work as a servant of those who employ us, we’re demonstrating Christlike character. This attitude also affects our motives and the quality of our work because we aren’t there just to get something for ourselves but to benefit others and to be a witness for Christ.
If you have a servant spirit, others may take advantage or mistreat you just as they did Jesus and Paul. But ultimately, you can never lose when you obey the principles of God’s Word. Your attitude should not be determined by how you’re treated, but by how the Lord says you are to behave as His follower.
2. Do your work for the Lord. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people” (Col. 3:23). Whether under a supervisor’s authority or working for ourselves, the Lord is the one we aim to please. Because He is our Lord, every area of our lives is submitted to Him, and that includes our professions.
Doing your work for the Lord means you’ll do your tasks “not with eye-service, as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” (3:22). You won’t slough off when no one’s looking. The Lord sees when no one else does, and He’s the one you serve. Out of fear and reverence for Him, always do your best whether anyone sees or not. You may not like your job, but that’s where God has placed you at this time. Your responsibility is to serve Him faithfully in that position whether the conditions are pleasant or difficult.
3. View Christ as your authority. “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (3:24). Ultimately, the Lord is your boss, and He commands you to do what your employer says unless it’s something immoral, corrupt, unrighteous, dishonest, or contrary to God’s Word. If for any of these reasons you can’t obey your employer, then you must trust the Lord to protect you and provide a different job.
Obedience in the workplace is an essential part of obedience to God. If you refuse to do what you’re told at work, then you’re rebelling against the Lord, who tells us to obey those in authority over us. The Lord chose to set that person over you, and your responsibility is to serve Him by serving your boss. Complaining to others or talking about the boss behind his back dishonors God and ruins your witness.
4. See other people as worthy. “Masters, grant your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven” (4:1). Christian employers are warned not to treat their employees unfairly. People are not to be used for self-advancement, but are to be loved and respected. God is our ultimate authority and judge. If we mistreat or disrespect people, we’ll receive the consequences of our wrongdoing without partiality (3:25).
5. View your rewards as both present and future. “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance” (3:23-24). Through labor we earn a paycheck, but there are other rewards that come to us when we do our work according to God’s principles.
Our ambition as believers should be to please the Lord in everything we do, whether at home, in the church, at work, or anywhere else. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
God has given each of us work to do, and it’s our responsibility as believers to do it with all our heart out of love for Him and with humility and respect for others.
- What is your attitude toward work? Do you see it as a dreaded burden to be endured each day or a blessing from God given for your provision? How often do you complain about your job? How often do you thank God for it?
- What would it look like to do your work heartily as to the Lord? How would a servant heart improve your attitude, performance, and interactions with others?
- What changes will you need to make in your thinking and behavior in order to apply the biblical principles mentioned above?