“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.”
This has become my cornerstone for what God says about work. We can learn a few things about work from this.
God wants us to work.
There is a theme throughout scripture that God wants us to work. You can see God’s plan for man and work way back at the beginning.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
We were created for work. It is a blessing to work. Lest you be tempted to see work as a result of the fall, note that this verse takes place before the fall. Work is a good thing.
We can do whatever we want
I love this verse mostly because it starts with “whatever.” How many times have you found yourself in a stressful situation, thrown up your hands and said “whatever!”? I have purposed to memorize this verse, so almost every time I’m tempted to “whatever” a situation, I’m reminded of this verse.
But we can also look at “whatever” as a very open field. God didn’t say – if you’re a pastor, doctor or lawyer, work heartily. He didn’t limit it to farmers or writers or ice cream truck drivers. Whatever you do. That gives us a pretty open market on work! I would recommend knowing all of scripture and not doing work that goes against scripture – while lucrative, I would assume that robbing others as your profession doesn’t fall under “whatever you do.”
This is another great reminder about work – don’t be lazy. One definition of the word heartily is “in an enthusiastic and energetic way.” This is an encouragement to us to give it our all in our work. With great joy too (my inference). We shouldn’t drag our feet when we go to work. We should approach each new work day with vigor and energy. Why? That leads us to the next thing we can learn from this verse.
As for the Lord, not man
This work business isn’t for us and it isn’t for the man. (ha ha, see what I did there?) It is for our Lord, first and foremost. I think when we focus on working for the Lord and not man, it helps us to be enthusiastic and energetic. I think that God has gifted all of us with unique gifts that we can use for work. When we are doing what He gifted us with, we can find amazing energy.
We work for rewards from God
Another source for our strength in work comes from knowing that we will receive our reward from Christ. Even if you’re in a job that you hate, God has you there for a reason. It could even be just to build your character more into the character of His Son. God’s ways are not our ways and His rewards are not our rewards.
What about you? What is holding you back from working heartily? Are you focused solely on getting “attaboy’s” from your boss (even if that boss is you)? Have you ever thought about work in this way? Spend some serious time considering how heartily you’re working and remembering who you’re working for.