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  • Jason Andersen

Working Heartily

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 3:23–25

This past week I got to mowing the lawn, but I wasn’t that excited about it. It’s an interesting thing when you’re stuck with a few too many things and not enough time. We can respond with bad attitudes as though we are suffering a great difficulty. This isn’t just in the times when we’re busy. When we are not busy and our work is seemingly mundane, we can also feel a similar difficulty. Or maybe when we don’t like the work we’re doing. I know when I catered, I didn’t like some of the work (I do like cooking, but some of the systems were a little rough along with the boss).

But each of us is given work by God. We see this in creation: God made Adam and Eve and they were to subdue the earth, tend the garden, and bear fruit. That’s all work each in its own way. And this work was a gift even if it wasn’t all in line with Adam and Eve’s experience, expectations, or even giftings. But before the fall they still labored 6 days and rested on the 7th.

And so we too have been given work, and this work is most oftenly good. Now in our fallen world, we’re going to have bosses who tell us to do things that are not above board, we’re going to have responsibilities where we’ve got to pursue a more charitable and virtuous path than your business expects. But even so, when we work in a secular workplace we have been given work and that work has the potential to be good. And this begins with how we attack it. Will we groan and complain entering into it like Garfield the Cat enters Mondays? No I don’t think so. Remember, the Israelites complained, and it was certainly not good. Their one job was to rest in the presence and providence of God as they did their simple work in the wilderness. But in the mundane desert, shepherding, making bread of manna, and all the rest Israel wasn’t satisfied in the work they were given. And I think even more than that they didn’t worship Yahweh in their work and rest when they ought to have been. Do we do much better? I’m not sure. I think we’re tempted to take it all for granted as though we deserve something when we’re actually just stealing glory.

And our work isn’t simply in a secular workplace. We also find our work in our homes. Some of us don’t work outside the home, some of us have work both at home and in a workplace. And somehow this work can pile up and again, we don’t work as if we are serving the Lord Christ. Like mowing my lawn begrudgingly (which I haven’t usually done), we can let our tasks become about my schedule, my tiredness, my scatterplot brain, and we can forget that our work is given to us by God and we are working for the Lord. So even when we’re wiping down the toilet of nastiness, or pulling thistles, or cleaning up throwup, this work is given by God and is good.

This is the simple idea: wherever you work, work heartily as to the Lord because you’re really serving him. And this means, we can even find rejoicing in some of the most menial tasks. And as an addendum, I’d suggest that you also rest in the Lord too as you turn your hearts to worship and as you give yourself a day of rest as we were created and as we anticipate the glory of the rest we have in Christ.

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