Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men – Colossians 3:23
Before sin came to our world there was work. Did you ever think of that?
In Genesis 2:15 we see that God put man in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. This means that gathering fruit and vegetables was work, but in a good way. Imagine loving to do work! It brought Adam joy, food for life and a sense of accomplishment.
Then when sin came along that same work became toilsome. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said that the ground then would produce thorns and thistles. You know what they are – competition for healthy plants. God also said that work then would cause us to sweat and make us exert a lot of effort. Sometimes work is physically hard and sometimes it is just mentally draining.
Most people in our American society look at work as something that is hard and a duty they don’t look forward to. Commercials, TV shows and movies all give work a bad name. But we should realize that God created us for work, and by realizing that is part of our human design accept work as a way of glorifying God!
In Colossians 3:23 we are instructed to work heartily – just as if working for the Lord instead of humans. To work heartily means with all your heart, to work genuinely, sincerely and warmly. Is there anything in your life you do this way? I know of people with a commitment to a team or cause with this kind of zeal, but not usually to work. If you think of it, the matter comes down to a heart issue. I think we need to work from our heart just as we love, play, sing or dance.
So when you work in retail you are obviously serving a customer, but you are also working to please God. If your job is to make widgets, then make them as if God paid you. At staff meetings, sales conferences, deliveries and while answering the phone see to it that you are pleasing God with your efforts. If mowing, cleaning, chores and the like is your thing – then do them all in a way that would be pleasing to God!
One of my favorite quotes gives a great description of what somebody looks like who is working heartily:
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. – James A. Michener
So – how heartily are you at your work today?