Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – Colossians 3:22-24
He had a menial, dead-end job. They assigned him tasks that no one else wanted – the “dumb work,” the dirty work, the dangerous work. They called him out at all hours of the day and night to satisfy the whims of his supervisors. He had little hope for advancement. In fact, he’d be lucky just to keep his job; plenty of others stood in line, ready to replace him. Whether he even lived or died mattered little. He was a first-century Roman slave.
Yet he mattered to God, and his work mattered, too. In writing to this lowly worker, Paul redefined his occupational status: he was not just a Roman slave, he was an employee of Christ the Lord! That makes all the difference.
So it is for any Christian in the workplace. You may work for a giant multinational corporation or in an ordinary chopbar. You may have 15 levels of bureaucracy over you, or be self-employed. It doesn’t matter. Ultimately, Christ is your Boss. Consider what that means in the light of Colossians 3:22-24.
- Christ gives you work to do. Work is a gift from God. He has created you in His image to be a worker, giving you skills and abilities to accomplish His purposes. He has also sovereignly placed you in your occupation to do His work there. Even if your job is as lowly as a Roman slave’s, it still has value and dignity to Christ.
- Christ is your Boss, but He uses human supervisors. According to Colossians 3, people in authority over you are actually human representatives of Christ. They may not act very Christlike. But in working for them, you are ultimately working for Christ. Do you follow their instructions? Do you shirk your job when they are not around? Are you more interested in impressing them to gain approval and advancement than in getting the job done? How would your work ethic change if you saw Christ as your supervisor?
- Christ asks you to put your heart into your work. If you serve Christ in your job, you have more reason than anyone else to work with integrity and enthusiasm. The job itself may be unchallenging or unpleasant. But Christ asks you to do it with dignity, to the best of your ability, as though working for Christ Himself.
Christ will reward you for good, faithful work. This passage says that Christ will review your work someday. You can expect praise and reward for working in a Christlike manner.
Respect Your Boss
I agree with Bayless Conley’s ideas on Titus 2:9-10 where, Paul writes a very interesting and important command, “Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” – NKJV
In today’s society, it is important to understand that this passage is giving us instructions as employers and employees. And simply stated, as an employee, we are to be obedient to our bosses.
- One of the ways we do that is by not answering back. It might be hard at times to hold our tongue, but we must. It’s therefore not okay when we meet up with our other colleagues and say such things like, “This idiot that we work for doesn’t have a clue what’s going on here.” This unacceptable because it is much the same as answering back.
- When it comes to “pilfering”, it is the same as stealing items of small value. You and I are aware of people in our work places who steal things (perhaps we ourselves are like that). They work for government, they don’t like their job and go home with something they had stolen from their office.
I know someone like that who nearly every day would rip off some small office supply like a stapler, or pens, or a file. While these things are of small value, this person would just keep stealing things.
The Bible says we shouldn’t do that. And we shouldn’t steal time from our employer either by making personal phone calls during office hours. Our employer is not paying us to take care of your business at the office. That is stealing.
I believe that, as Christians, we ought to be the best employees in the world. We should work so hard and bring such a good attitude into the workplace that we set the example to everyone with whom we work.
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