The Mystery Revealed, Christ is Enough, so Walk in Newness of Life
The outcome of making Christ our all in all, in letting His life-giving Word richly dwell within us, is the abundant Christian life. However, unlike what most people might think, the abundant Christian life doesn’t mean that all will be perfect, that we’ll not have another care in the world or that life will be easy. On the contrary, the one thing we are guaranteed in this new life is persecution, hardships, and work. Lots of work. But at the end of the day it is all worth it. Why? Because as Paul encouraged us, if we do our work heartily as for the Lord we will receive an eternal reward for our effort.
“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.”
Man was made to work. Even in a perfect world before sin, what was the occupation and job given to Adam and Eve? Tend the Garden of Eden. So, from the very beginning we were created to work for the Lord. However, due to sin man no longer wants to work. It’s looked down upon as a chore and something no one wants to do. Idleness has become especially appealing in our 21st century culture! Nevertheless, the truth remains that even in our sin-ridden world we are still called to labor for the Lord. It is still our God-given occupation and job.
The context of Colossians 3:23-24 is the section of Colossians headed “Rules for the Christian Households” with verses 23 and 24 written for the servants and slaves of the household. But these verses also apply to us. While we might not be slaves in our households—though sometimes I’m sure mom might feel like it!—we are all called to be servants in God’s family and bondservants or willing slaves to Christ. So this exhortation on work definitely applies to us too.
Serving the Lord and working in His household is a high and noble calling despite the fact that it might feel insignificant, menial, mundane, and seemingly invaluable. But what is Paul’s exhortation to us? “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord.” Focus on the whatever. Whatever encompasses anything and everything you find yourself doing, from menial tasks like taking out the trash and washing the dishes to bigger projects like organizing a fundraiser, putting on a conference, or making a business deal. Whatever you do, in whatever field and occupation you work in, in whatever culture you live in, in all things, do it as if you’re doing it for the Lord.
And how are we to go about our work? Heartily. In the Greek, this word literally means “out of the soul.” Though we only see one word in our English Bibles, in the Greek there are two words located here: ex and psyche. According to the Strong’s Dictionary ex is “a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds).” Psyche on the other hand, refers to the intangible part of man that has stumped philosophers and scholars for ages—the soul. It is the unique part of man that separates him from the rest of creation. Strong’s Dictionary gives the literal definition for psyche as “breath” which I find quite fascinating since the distinct difference in man’s creation is that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) Interesting connection, isn’t it?!
But back to our topic. So heartily literally means out of or from the soul. So we’re not to work for the Lord as a simple outward duty of the body, a mere going through the motions. Instead, we need to serve Him from the heart, from the innermost part of our soul. It must be a sincere labor and not a work grudgingly carried out. This is what heartily really means.
So why do we work heartily as unto the Lord? Because as His servants, whatever we do as unto Him will be rewarded for eternity. We are not working for the praise, approval, or recognition of man but the recognition of Christ. And when we take this perspective, mundane chores, responsibilities, and duties take on new light when we consider doing them as unto the Lord. Suddenly, washing dishes for your family is really like washing dishes for Jesus and folding clothes or changing laundry is like handling royal garments as we consider doing it for the King of kings. Working for the Lord becomes a joy.
In light of all this, do we heartily serve the Lord? Are we going about the work that He has set before us with sincerity of heart? Is our labor coming from our soul and not just our hands? Are we fully engaged and present in what God has given us to do?
We should be. For this is walking in newness of life. We no longer do things as we once did—our attitude is different and our perspective is eternal. We understand that in God’s kingdom there is no such thing as a menial, unimportant, or mundane task, but all things when done for the Lord have immeasurable, eternal value. So let’s become faithful servants of our Lord and Savior, and let us resolve to do all things—great and small—as unto Him, remembering that none of our labor in the Lord will be in vain.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
~I Corinthians 15:58
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.”