Remember Who You Are Working For
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Sometimes in the midst of adversity, in the midst of our pain, we can lose sight of who we are really working for. We can lose sight of what our mission really is. We can lose sight of who we are in Christ. We can even lose sight of God. But God, in His infinite grace, love, and mercy for us will never lose sight of us and will always utilize something or someone to draw us back to the truth and to Him. He will always do something to shake us up and shake loose the things within us that need to go by putting it before us, drawing us close to Him and having us surrendering it to Him. In its place, He will provide the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (or patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). All of these things work together to produce good fruit. This is God’s character and God wants us to have His character.
In this scripture, Paul was providing the Colossian church the guidelines for the proper way of behaving in their personal lives. In doing so, he was also reminding them whom they served. In this section, he was addressing the Christian home – the wives, the husbands, the children and even the bondservants. He left no one out because they all had to live together, which means they also had to work together to maintain the home. In verse 23-24 he was directing his comment to the bondservants. A bondservant is one who serves while in bondage; a slave or one who is bound to service without payment. He was telling them to do their work as to the Lord and the Lord would reward them. To understand a little more, we need to go back to verse 22 (amplified bible) which Paul states:
“Servants, in everything obey those who are your masters on earth, not only with external service, as those who merely please people, but with sincerity of heart because of your fear of the Lord.”
What Paul was saying was that even in bondage to others or to any given situation, bondservants were to exhibit the character of the Lord and do what was right, in this case regarding their work, and God would reward them. They weren’t to just do what was right in front of their masters but in their personal lives do wrong. They weren’t to be men-pleasers and once the master leaves, stop working. They were to be God-pleasers and work knowing God is monitoring us 24/7 though we may not physically see Him. They were to work to the best of their ability because that work is for the Lord. Another example would be our workplace. When our employer is there we work hard but as soon as he leaves, do we slack off and stop working or do we continue to work hard?
God has given each one of us great abilities and skills to do what He’s called us to do. Is everyone skilled at knowing and doing everything? No and we shouldn’t try to do it all and know it all or we will run a race of pride. In 1 Corinthians 12 it speaks of different gifts being given to different people with verse 11 stating the following:
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
The Holy Spirit will give each one of us what we need to work at our job effectively. We may be one body but there are many members. In other words, we may be one body but everyone is important and has a job. Sometimes we may feel the job we do or the amount of time we give is unimportant or not as good as someone else’s, but that’s not true. What we do is very important to help keep a workplace, family, or church going. Everyone’s help is needed for one cause…the kingdom. It’s all about eternity. It’s all about God. The problem is when we remove our focus off of Christ and into other lanes. We see other people healing quicker and think there is something wrong with us so we slow down or regress. We see other people advancing quicker and we think “why isn’t that me?” and we become angry and pull back from our work or we become deceptive just to get ahead. We see other people be treated differently (better) than us and we think “what’s the use?” and we want to quit working and walk away or only do half the job. The problem doesn’t always stem from what others do to us (though it doesn’t help) but it does stem from our focus and where it’s placed. Jesus went through the very same things. He was talked about, persecuted, made to feel as if He didn’t know what He was talking about and was even accused of getting His power from Satan (Matthew 12:24), but none of this deterred Him from continuing on with His work and completing His mission. We, however, tend to forget that God is the one in control and He is the one who put us where we are, giving us the ability and skills to do the work or even a portion of the work when helping other people. He is the one who will move us where He needs us the most in His time. He is the one who monitors our work and He is the one we must please. It pleases Him when we obey and we do our work to the best of our ability no matter what conditions we are under because we are exhibiting His Godly character and we won’t be under those conditions forever. He is allowing us to be under those conditions to shape us into the people He needs us to be. He needs to get us to the point where we are formed with the Godly character that He has and that may mean being put into conditions and situations with the heat turned up. He knows exactly how much heat and pressure we can handle in order to become that beautiful diamond. When that part of the process is completed, He will either move us or bring peace where we are. Either way it will be an advancement.
Remember, if you are responsible for little, then God will know and give you more, but if you are irresponsible with the little bit He gives to you, you won’t receive more. It doesn’t matter about the situation and what may have caused you to not want to continue on. What matters is that you were faithful with what He called you to do or what He gave to you:
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
What are you doing with the work God has given you to do? Are you working at it to please Him or are you allowing your emotions to make you want to walk away because of other peoples reactions to you? Are you seeking reward and recognition from others or are you seeking it from God? Are you utilizing your skills and abilities in different places to help others (in the community, work, church etc) or are you trying to use it in just one area and becoming frustrated?
When we seek to be a God-pleaser and remain faithful in what He’s given us to do, no matter how little or how big, God will open up the doors to more but not until He can see we’ve been faithful with what He’s already given to us. Never forget that He sees what you are going through because He is the one who placed you there so you can go through the process. If you try to bypass the process, then true healing and maturity will not come. If you are an angry person, then you will be put into positions that causes anger that will push you to seek God and surrender it. If you are one who struggles with rejection or criticism, then you will be put into situations that cause you to feel rejected or criticized in order to move you to seek God and surrender it. God is teaching you how to run with endurance and in order to run with endurance, you must be mindful of the things that trip you up and get rid of them. Once you are mindful of them, you will be able to run the race with endurance while keeping an eye out for distractions and obstacles that could push you out of the race and jump over them with ease. Remember, it takes great focus and training to run a race or to win a battle. Seek God’s Word to learn how to win.
To heal takes a renewing of the mind to change. The question is…can you handle the heat for that change to come?
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.