Do Your Work Expectantly
One of the things I love about the Bible is that when we are told what to do, we are also told what we can expect from our obedience. In this passage, Paul tells us to do our work expectant of reward. God often appeals to us with the promise of reward. In fact, Jonathan Edward noted that throughout the Bible, we see the theme of God’s glory and our good bound up together in one. Reward is all about giving us something good while God gets the glory. And when we obey God, it brings glory and joy to God and reward and good for us.
The reward for excellent work done in reverence to the Lord is ours both here on earth and in the world to come. Here in Colossians, Paul says that we receive an inheritance from the Lord, which seems to mean a reward in the world to come. In Ephesians 6, which parallels much of what Colossians 3 says, he seems to speak of a more immediate reward: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (Eph. 6:7-8). You work for Christ, who is generous and good. Of course he will see to it that you are blessed!
This is great encouragement. We all have our pity parties now and again: “I’m underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated.” Have your moment. Then get up in the morning and go to work for Christ, serving with all your might and knowing that he will reward you!
Let me end with these words from patriarch Jacob to his father-in-law Laban. Jacob was no saint, but he understood the value of work well done. Although Laban mistreated him, he served well.
I worked for you fourteen years, and you changed my wages ten times. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands and has blessed me.
- Genesis 31:41-42 (paraphrase)
Despite a conniving employer, Jacob came away blessed by God. Be encouraged in your work today.