“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” – Colossians 3:23
Scripture reading: Colossians 3:22-4:1
Work for many people, then and now, is drudgery and therefore performed grudgingly. The apostle Paul doesn’t want us to work mindlessly, much less reluctantly. He wants us to be personally engaged and focused.
Whereas Paul uses the word “heart” in verse 22, he uses the word “soul” in verse 23, saying literally, “And whatever you do, from the soul, work, as to the Lord and not men.” Many Greeks famously regarded the soul as an entity imprisoned by the body. For the Jews, however, the soul was a person animated by God himself. God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a living soul. When Paul says, “From the soul, work!” he’s not only recalling creation; he’s echoing the central commandment of the entire Bible: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul.”
We must put ourselves into our work fully. Why? Because we work “as for the Lord and not for men.” Labour today, as grim slavery then, generated the benefits of housing and food. Our ultimate motivation, however, must not be earthly. We serve a heavenly master, the Lord Jesus Christ, on Whom we must set our hearts and minds.
We work for the Lord Who assigned us our vocations. Our earthly managers may not always be looking, but our heavenly Master is. Everything we do—whether answering the phone, washing dishes, operating a machine, turning in an essay, selling a product—everything must be done from the soul for the Lord.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask the Lord to renew your sense of vocation in life so that you increasingly invest yourself in your work to please the Lord.
Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.