Vacation was over. As I opened my laptop to wade through an endless ocean of emails, anxiety washed over me. After two weeks in South Korea and China, it was jarring to return to my five-by-five foot cubicle.
What troubled me most, though, wasn’t the change in scenery. Rather, it was painful to see how quickly my priorities, and my inclination to worship God, had changed. My focus transitioned (too seamlessly) from communing with the Lord, spending time in fellowship with friends, and praying for one another to managing my workload and earning the esteem of clients and colleagues.
Why aren’t we inclined to make our work an act of worship?
Here’s what the apostle Paul says about work in Colossians:
“22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:22 – 24
In Christ, God enables us to approach our work as a new man (Colossians 3:10, NKJV), and as one who is filled with his Holy Spirit. Despite this life-giving biblical truth, I find myself trying to accomplish each day’s work by my own power. As a result of my sin, I am met with stress and frustration.
But by God’s grace, this isn’t the end of the story.
Paul says of us, God’s chosen ones, “13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2: 13 – 14).
Praise God! He has made us alive together with Christ. Now, by the powerful working of God, He commands us to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). God also commands us to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
Note that this command is paired with a promise: “23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23 – 24).
The inheritance is Christ Himself.
He is our reward! We get to enjoy communion with Him, with the One who is “seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). I pray that as God teaches us to worship Him in our work, that He would also plant within us a desire for Christ as our supreme treasure.
Christian, regardless of what work looks like for you (whether in an office, in school, or in your home), I encourage you to join me in this prayer:
- Lord, renew an upright spirit within us; that we may have a desire to work diligently, and that we may desire Christ. We recognize that we can do nothing without Your enabling, Lord. We pray that You would give us a desire to enjoy You during our work, and that we would see Christ Himself as our “inheritance” (Colossians 3:24) and ultimate treasure.
- Lord, help us to complete our work as unto You, and in obedience to you. We recognize that “25 [God is not] served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). Rather, You have commanded us to worship You in our toil, and by the power of Christ at work within us, You have enabled us to obey this commandment.
- Lord, I pray that You would complete this work for your glory. Lord, thank You for equipping us to honor You and enjoy You through our work. I pray that You would change our hearts, and that this change would be a testament to Your almighty power at work within us. Be glorified, Lord, in the work and worship of your saints.
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