Jan 16 Work and Serve

Col 3:23-24, “Whatever you are doing, work~~ at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people,  because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve ~~ the Lord Christ.

The motivations behind our actions are important in Scripture. One of the chief defects of the first–century slave was the lack of motivation to behave with zeal unless threatened with punishment. The temptation for the slave was to do as little as he could get away with.

One can only imagine the difficulty for one of the one hundred million Roman slaves in the first century who desired to honor the Lord even as a slave.

The priority of the New Testament was to spread the gospel and not be clouded with social reconstruction. If the first–century slave could follow these principles to honor Christ, then any employee today can as well.

A Christian slave owed complete obedience to his master as though his service was “as to the Lord” Himself. The word whatever extends beyond what is normally expected. The present tense means to “continually be working at it with enthusiasm” (lit. “with all your soul”), seeking to benefit everyone around you.

We are not to serve men—-that is, we are not to be men–pleasers. Jesus warned in Matthew 6:1 that anything done to be seen or approved by men would receive no reward from Him. Only the Lord can know what motivates our behavior. We are always to do excellent work whether anyone is looking or not, just to honor our Savior who sees us.

Two aspects of the motivation are to be kept in the servant’s mind: First, whatever one does, it is “as to the Lord and not for people.” The Lord, who sees all and knows all, looks for what He can reward. Second, one must be continually knowing or thinking of his “inheritance from the Lord as the reward” for faithful service, which would make life’s efforts worthwhile.

Under Roman law, a slave could not inherit anything; however, Paul gave dignity and hope to the servant by describing the reward that would be personally given by the Lord.

Even while remaining as slaves (or employees), believers are continually or habitually to be serving the Lord Jesus through their workplace. The triple repetition of the focus toward the Lord suggests that the slave/employee should constantly repeat in his mind that his loyalty is focused on Christ, which transcends his devotion to his human master/boss. This makes it easier to bear the harsher and more unpleasant features of his enslavement/job. Whatever your task, do it is as if for the Lord Himself. Can you keep this focus today?

“Teach me Your perspective of how to live for You through serving others around me. I trust You, Lord, to remember every detail, because it is all for You.”


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