As Christians, one of our main duties on earth is working for the Lord. But what does working for the Lord mean? Does it involve some special skills that we need to learn? How do we work for God?
What Does It Mean to Work for the Lord?
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There are two ways of looking at work.
- The thing that you do to earn an income so you can live.
- That thing that you do that you were created to do.
Very few of us are blessed to do the thing that we were created to do as our income earners. For those of us who are not doing that thing for which we were created, we may find ourselves asking: “What the point?”
To which the Bible answers: ‘For the glory of God.’
“But,” you may ask, how I can do something I dislike or even hate doing for the glory of God?”
My friend, you are asking a very valid question, one that I often find myself asking. This is what I think the answer is: we have to somehow in our every day figure out how to run the race that God has set out before us.
What does Bible say about working for the Lord?
Since Creation, God and humanity have been involved in a Creator-steward relationship. God creates something and puts us in charge of taking care of it.
Let’s look at some Bible verses about working for the Lord to see what we can learn more about this key relationship.
- Slaves, 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. 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 3:22-24 ESV
So that there’s no misunderstanding, let’s explain what the Bible means when it uses the word “slave”. The original word is the Greek doûlos, (pronounced doo’-los). Doûlos could have been translated to mean slave in the literal or figurative sense, whether the enslavement was involuntary or voluntary. But many times, doûlos just means servant.
It is often used metaphorically by those who align themselves as servants of God. Paul, James, Peter, and Jude all call themselves slaves or bondservants of Christ. Now let’s talk about the text.
There is a way to work that is not pleasing to God. When we work solely to impress our earthly masters we can become slothful or prideful. We become prideful when we are lauded for our efforts and slothful when we’re not. God wants us to be good stewards of the job He has given us…even if we’d rather be doing something else.
- Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, Ephesians 6:5 ESV
How do we work for the Lord? With a sincere heart. The word translated as “sincere” is the Greek word haplótēs, (pronounced hap-lot’-ace). Haplótēs means singleness, i.e. a sincerity without dissimulation or self-seeking.
The Oxford Dictionary defines dissimulation as the concealment of one’s thoughts, feelings, or character; pretence. In others words, we are not to misrepresent our characters to our employer. Since we bear the image of our Creator and identify ourselves as children of God, we have a responsibility to represent Christ in the workplace.
- And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV
How often do you give thanks to God? According to this verse, everything they do offers us an opportunity for thanksgiving.
- Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things. 1 Timothy 6:1-2 ESV
Let’s face it, some employers that their staff very poorly. As employees, it’s easy to reset them for their mistreatment of us. But we’re called to see them as being “worthy of all honor”.
The word translated as honor is the Greek timḗ, (pronounced tee-may’). It could also have been translated to means value, i.e. money paid. Timḗ also, by analogy, means esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself.
Timḗ is used in the Bible to refer to the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold. When we think of the value of a person, we remember that Jesus paid the price for all of us. To God, the price paid for everyone was exactly the same: the death of His Son.
What a good reason to give glory to our employers as we continue working for the Lord!
What are the Benefits of Doing God’s work?
Working for the Lord is all about improving our character to make us more like God. The truth is, God doesn’t need any of us to do anything for Him. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.
He grants us the privilege of supporting Him in the work of building up the kingdom because by doing so we become more like Him.
For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV
As we strive to work for God, we reap the benefits.
1. Our faith increases: When we choose to be to work with the Lord, we will experience great tribulations. The trials we face are an opportunity to draw closer to God and increase our faith.
2. We cultivate the fruit of the Spirit: As Christians, we are to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). As we work with God, the Holy Spirit works in us to exhibit the fruit of His presence.
3. We learn perseverance: We are repeatedly told in the Bible that the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). Working for the Lord teaches us endurance which helps us to develop our character.
We cannot afford to fall into the trap of defining ourselves according to the work that we do (this applies no matter what type of work we do). But at the same time, we have to remember that the attitude with which we approach our work points to the Master.
How to Work for God
As we ponder this crucial topic of working for the Lord and attempting to live it out in our daily lives, here are some things to consider:
- How can we be Jesus to someone at work?
- How can we shed a little light in a dark world?
- How can our lives tell of Jesus who died for all humanity?
- What can you do today to make your work reflect the glory of God?
Working for the Lord is everyone’s responsibility. We can for God when we live our lives and approach our jobs with an attitude of praise, worship, and service…regardless of how we feel about the work itself, our employers, or the people we work with.
We have all received the gift of eternal life and are now co-laborers with God. How will you work for the Master today?
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