Many of us dream of one day going to ‘paradise.’ Hawaii, Bahamas, Jamaica, the Florida Keys … how about if we could go back in time. How many of us would love to live in the Garden of Eden?
At my place of employment, I am often heard saying, “The reward for good work is … more work.” Sometimes it is meant derogatorily, as if I just can’t get a break, but typically it is said as a factual statement. All the while though, I keep working hard with quality, and excellence always at the forefront of my mind. Nevertheless though, it is true. What happened to the man’s servant in Christ’s parable that worked hard with what he was given? He was given double! What does a boss do with someone whose work is subpar? He fires them … takes their work away from them. Work is a gift. Work is a sign of honor. Work is a privilege. A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of being promoted at work and a couple of weeks before that, I had the privilege of a promotion at church. I guess you’d call it a promotion. What do you call a promotion without any added monetary reward? More work? Well, I still call it a promotion; even though I didn’t get a raise or anything like that, I went from the ‘janitor’ to the ‘Grounds and Maintenance Manager.’ My reward is that I get to serve on a larger scale … I like that.
Did you know that he Bible has verses on our employment, on work? Genesis 2:15 gives the entire reason why God put Adam (and Eve since they were inseparable) into the Garden of Eden … to work it. Seriously, it wasn’t a vacation spot, but rather He says that he put Adam into the garden to cultivate it, and keep it. Strangely enough, our greatest blessings in life come at a price, a price of work.
Ephesians 4:28 encourages us to stop working as the world does in a back biting manner pushing others aside so that we can take their spot, get to the next rung on the ladder. It goes on to say rather than stealing, work with your hands for those things that are good … so that you can have something to share with those who are in need. Why is it important to work hard … so that we can help others, those in need. You see, if we work hard, aspire to levels of greatness for our own reward, the bible says then that those things are all we’ll get, those are our rewards. How fleeting is a Harley. How temporary is the latest top of the line hunting gear or the biggest breakthrough in golf clubs? Is that really worth the investment? Personally, I aspire to bigger things. Things that will last beyond my death … beyond me. I Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us quite pointedly, that we aren’t in charge of ourselves.
We all have a choice for what we work towards, in what we invest. With that choice comes great responsibilities. How we work is more important than what I am doing. You see, it doesn’t matter if I’m vacuuming the hallways of the church or leading my crew of 70 people. If I do it as though I am working for God … all other things will be unimportant. Colossians 3:22-24 speaks to this point. Don’t work to please your boss. Don’t do a good job to make your boss happy … look higher, beyond yourself. Look into yourself, examine your heart, your motives, and ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Is it for the company’s sake? Are you working just to get by? Are you working towards reaching a new promotion? If you are … all of those things can be taken away. Again, look higher than yourself and diligently work to please God, not others. If we work with that focus in mind, we will win in any arena regardless of your position, white collar or blue. There’s another benefit though of doing good work, besides that of blessings of more work. I like to think of it as a form of worship. Matthew 5:16 says that our work is a way in which we can let our “light shine before men” so that they, those watching our performance, can glorify God! So tell me, do others glorify God by the work you display? Ultimately, it come down to this: whom do you work for, to whom do you belong?
“… in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Col 3:22
Until later . . . Jonathan Watson