Hard Work

It's hard work to work hard. Especially when your boss or coworkers are difficult people. Especially if you're not really working for them.

Bondservants, 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. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
Colossians 3:22-25

Allow me to paraphrase briefly:

Employees, work hard for your employers regardless of how well they treat you. Don't just work hard externally, but have a good, godly attitude about it internally. Because you're actually working for God, who is good and just. He will deal with your employers if there's something to be done.

This is simple and complex. Simple because all we have to do is work hard with a good attitude. Yes, that's a hard assignment, but it's simple.

Yet it's complex at the same time because, particularly in Western culture, we have "rights." And while "rights" are wonderful in a society, they take a back burner to God's commandments for Christians.

People talk a lot about the right to leave a job if it's stressful or to leave a relationship if it's hurtful. In some of those cases, I think God honors walking away from a bad situation. By far and away, however, God's desire for us is to pursue faithfulness and patience (long-suffering) in our relationships in order to reflect His relationship with us. The more faithful we are, despite mistreatment, the more we reflect God's character to a world that is quick to walk out.

I'm not saying we should never quit a job if it's stressful. But until we hear from God that it's time to move on, our whole heart, mind, and strength should go into serving God well in that position - from bussing tables to selling knives.

Working hard is both external - being productive, going above and beyond to help, not wasting company time or resources - and internal - thinking good thoughts about our bosses and coworkers.

Not always easy.

We can usually fake it pretty well - eye-service. Most of us are people-pleasers deep down. But if gossip comes up around lunchtime, do we join in? If it's normal work "culture" to complain about one's boss when they're not around, do we join in? If we're overworked and underpaid or manipulated or asked to do something we think is ridiculous, do we grumble?

Let me take this moment to remind myself that I am in need of God's grace in this area. And may I remind you that His grace is abundant? When the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we are usually aware of our shortcomings and failures. We know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

But failure does not preclude victory. By the mighty power He works within us, we can change. We are no longer bound by sin, doomed to follow the complaining, lazy, grumbling spirit of this world. We can be like Christ in our thoughts and actions. Praise the Lord!

I don't want to neglect to address the very real case of being misused and mistreated at work. While I'm not saying we should continue to suffer in a job that causes us great pain or humiliation, I am saying running away from this problem shouldn't be the first reaction. God may tell you to leave, and that is good. But God may tell you to stay and watch Him work in the situation. He cares very much about your hurt, and He is a God of justice; He won't forget you. But it is not our place to "punish" a bad employer by being a bad employee. That is not Christ-like. And that is not life-giving to us.

As I wrote in the beginning, it's hard work to work hard. But receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and be strengthened to do what is right and bring glory to the Father.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

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