Are You Really Working for the Lord?

Lazy Worker

There are so many things that are wrong with our culture. Some are overt, while others are quite subtle. One of those subtle problems is the attitude that is often displayed toward work. We are told to just “half do” our jobs, and to try to get away with as little as we can and still hold on to our jobs. It’s even become considered acceptable to pilfer “small” things from work and still be considered honest.

The Bible sets a much higher standard, though. In a world that teaches us to compartmentalize our lives, the Bible makes it clear that all of our life is to be lived to God’s glory.

That includes our work. In Colossians 3:23-24, Paul wrote, “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.”

In context, Paul is writing about various earthly relationships, and these words are found in the midst of a discussion to slaves who are Christians. That small insight adds even greater depth to this passage. Some of us may have bosses who are mean, but few of us have leaders who could honestly be compared to slave-drivers (though we sometimes jokingly use that terminology).

But what does it mean to work “for the Lord?” How does that stand in contrast to the world in which we live? Consider these 5 important practices when working for the Lord:

1. Be totally honest.

Yes, totally honest! When you are turning in an expense report, Christians must be totally honest about what was personal and what was business-related. When we are in an interview, we are not to embellish the truth or lie about our past accomplishments and/or failures. When we make a mistake on the job, we must be honest enough to own up to our part of that mistake and live with the possible consequences. A Christian would not dare to “fudge” his time card, mileage, or research sources.

2. Find joy in your labors.

I am not saying that every day on the job is going to be a walk in the park. Work isn’t always fun! But as a teacher, banker, garbage man, preacher, or in any other position we can show Christ in our work – and joy will follow. Christians should find joy because they are living with purpose and have an opportunity to shine the light of Christ wherever they may be.

3. Build close relationships.

We need to work while on the job, but on breaks or trips we need to be people who are trying to build relationships with our coworkers, vendors and customers. Jesus was the greatest relationship-builder of all time, and He expects us to try to build into the lives of others. We should not mix social and business (unless such is allowed), but we can be the kindest, most honest, and most caring worker that our bosses, subordinates and customers have ever seen. That will cause them to want to get to know us – and hopefully Christ – better.

4. Serve others – even those below you.

Jesus worked very hard while He was here on the earth, but His primary work was serving. He made a difference because He put the needs of others first. A good worker is one who sees a problem and tries to be part of the solution. God has called His people to always be serving, and that includes on the job. Do not pass up an opportunity to do good to anyone (cf. Galatians 6:10).

5. Be a good steward of God’s resources.

Often, when we think about stewardship, we think only in terms of money. God has blessed us with other things, too, that He expects us to manage well. That includes our time and abilities, both of which are on display in our jobs. Working unto the Lord means that I am going to be a good steward of the time God has given me, redeeming it for His glory. It means that I am not going to waste the talents and abilities that God has given me, and with which I am blessed to earn a living for my family and myself.

Each of these five practices stand in stark contrast to the prevailing mood of our society toward work. May God’s people always work heartily, because we are working for the Lord!

Does your job make it difficult for you to work for the Lord? How are you doing shining His light in your workplace? Leave a comment and let us know!

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  1. Laura

    Great post! I think you really hit the nail on the head with what it means to “do your work as for the Lord”. That’s been one of my goals since I was working in high school and first studied that scripture. Here’s where I have the biggest struggles:

    1) Being completely, totally, honest. I like to avoid conflict, so sometimes being totally honest is scary. It might not even mean telling someone that I did something wrong, but it may just be telling a client something they don’t want to hear. But I try to remind myself that as long as I’m honest and ethical, no one can come back to me later and say “why didn’t you tell me”…

    2) Being a good steward of my time. It’s so easy to waste time at work – especially with the internet here to provide some fun distraction. (But right now, I’m taking my lunch break, so it’s okay, LOL!)

  2. Brent Pittman

    Great topic! As Jesus followers, we have different view of work–work is good and not a curse. Work existed pre-fall with Adam cultivating the land and naming the animals. Thanks for the reminders.

  3. Kevin M

    I remember early in my life being warned by co-workers, not “work yourself out of a job”. I don’t know if that was a “union mentality”, or their own insecurity about being outworked, but there is a certain line of thinking that the best way to keep your job is by making sure you never finish what needs to be done. You always want to leave some work for tomorrow.

    I never bought into that thinking myself, and it never hurt me in any way, but that is an established philosophy.

  4. DC @ Young Adult Money

    This post is a good reminder of what we are called to in regards to work. A lot of the time Christians get just as frustrated (or more) about work instead of making the best of every situation. I know I’m guilty.

  5. Teodven Saladaga

    I thank the Lord for this reminder……. to work honestly and please pray for me.

  6. Amanda

    This is a beautiful reminder. I have actually left two jobs (both in sales) because they went against my Christian values. Though neither employment ridiculed me for my Christian values, they discouraged it. Both jobs wanted me to stretch the truth, manipulate, deceive, and take advantage of the client or customer. I got the biggest relief when I left both jobs. Now I am looking forward to helping at my church’s daycare, a place where Christian morals and values are shaped and encouraged to grow. Now my biggest challenge is finding joy in housework, which has always felt like punishment. I thank God for this reminder, for leading me to this article. I thank Him for everything that led to this article being researched, written, and published.

  7. Rich Avery

    Great post. I’d add one more thing, which you touched on in #2 and #5 but didn’t quite come out and say: Be sure that your work lines up with your calling, gifts, and passions.

    As a pastor and life coach, I’ve known plenty of people who were working in jobs that weren’t a great fit for how God wired them, in terms of their personality, skills, abilities, and passions. They did the best they could, and worked as unto the Lord, but their job and their true calling were mismatched and they were left unfulfilled day after day.

    I think we will have the most joy in our work, and be the best stewards of the resources God has placed within us, when we understand our unique calling and find and do the work we were meant to do.

  8. Jennifer

    The question I have is…what if the place you work for you find out it is nothing to help anyone else, but to only help people be more boastful about their own accomplishments.

  9. Chidi

    Excellent post and timely too. I am at a point where i’ve constantly had to remind myself that I am blessed to have a job and so must not take it for granted. We all need to step up to that level of marurity where we begin to consider the truth that alot of people who are much better than us dont have jobs. And so If the Lord has blessed us with a job, we must take it seriously, handling it with utmost diligence and honesty.

  10. premgin

    Great ! God Bless you brother . I remember my first interview in UAE where i went with a copy & paste of my project managers CV and has to face that horrible situation where i was questioned about the works i haven’t done. But it was an eye opener when i sat with Lord that day for prayer.Sometimes the lies could be small ,but for Christ the size never matters,we are al called to Live HOLY.

    Christ means The Anointed One – if we say we follows Christ we are all called to live it . Irrespective of the call we have .

    Thanks for the nice post 🙂