Do you ever feel that your work is not of much “kingdom” use? That people who are in full-time ministry or humanitarian careers are more important and more valuable? There are some verses in Colossians that dispel that notion and show us how God sees all work as important and able to impact the kingdom.
Colossians 3:17,23-24 – Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. … Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
As a Christ-follower, everything we do is connected to the name of Christ, and in service to Him. This does two things for us. First, it gives us a guideline for what we choose to do, whether it’s a simple deed or a lifelong career choice, and gives us a greater, spiritual purpose in the physical work. God’s name should be honored in what we do (and say). If it brings dishonor or is in clear conflict with biblical truth and the commands of Jesus, we choose not to do it. “Whatever you do” doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want to do and expect God to bless it. It means doing everything to please Him, as doing it by His authority, and in line with His ultimate purpose and intent.
This means I can be a clerk at Walmart in Jesus’ name. I can clean hotel rooms in Jesus’ name. I can research cures for cancer in Jesus’ name. I can mow grass in Jesus’ name. I can serve as a government official in Jesus’ name. I can pick up trash, or serve coffee, or run a Fortune 500 company in Jesus’ name. The assignment God gives me in this world is simply a scaffolding for my role as a citizen of God’s kingdom, and an ambassador of Jesus.
Paul says to do our work “heartily” as for the Lord, rather than for men. We speak and act as though Jesus Himself were doing our job, with the intent that others see and recognize and honor Jesus, whom we represent. If you really understood and believed that you are representing Jesus, as citizens of a heavenly kingdom, how would it change the way you speak to people or the choices you make when you think no one is watching? Would you see your work, no matter how boring, how trivial, or even how important, as first and foremost a platform to live and speak as Jesus to those you serve?
The second thing these verses tell us is that our ultimate reward is not the paycheck or the position or the power and prestige we get from our work. Our reward is future – the inheritance we will receive from Christ. Did you know that heaven doesn’t trade in U.S. dollars? When you leave this world, everything you’ve accumulated will be left behind. God will not commend you for rising to the top of your chosen field of expertise, but He will ask you what you did for the kingdom while you were there. How did you use the gifts and talents and knowledge and wisdom He endowed you with for the gospel? How did you bring attention and glory to Jesus while on assignment, during the time of your stay upon earth?
All work is honorable if it can be done in Jesus’ name. All work is profitable if it invests in the economy of heaven.
If you belong to Christ, when you go to work today, you aren’t going just so you can pay the bills. You are on assignment from the King of Kings, representing His name. Put that on your name tag, my friend, and go impact the kingdom.
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:17-19).