Do Your Work Passionately
Biblical commentator James D. G. Dunn notes in his commentary on Colossians 3:23 that Paul’s words indicate that work is to be “done from the vital heart of the person, with all the individual’s life force behind it” (The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon) In short, this means you are to do your work passionately as though you are working for the Lord! Or as we often say around Calvary, do it with all your might. Imagine for a moment how our work would be transformed if we first and foremost recognized that we are serving the Lord.
Working passionately means that we do our work with diligence and with excellence. Christians, who are serving God above all else, should be known for excellent work. Look at Dorothy Sayers (“Why Work?”) on this point:
“The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.”
We should do good work! “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecc. 9:10). Is that building homes? Is it caring for the sick? Is it serving customers? Is it cleaning houses? Is it waiting on tables? Is it being a public servant? Is it leading a company? It is a service to God and to others.
“The work of a Beethoven, and the work of a charwoman [housekeeper], become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly ‘as to the Lord.’”
- C. S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time”
Lewis gave this lecture in Oxford in October of 1939, one month after France and the UK declared war on Germany. The world was at war and Lewis, who was a veteran of WWI, was responding to the question, “Should scholars and students go about their work even during war?” His answer was that each of us have our calling and that each of us should do our work right now, whether we a soldier or a student or a secretary or a scholar. Whatever we have been called to do, we must do our work diligently and well before the Lord. This is pleasing to him.
Colossians 4:1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
I want to skip ahead to give a brief word to “masters,” those who manage or oversee others. Do what is right and treat the people under you fairly. You too have someone over you and sees what you do and how you treat those you manage. The implication, of course, is that those who treat their employees unjustly will be judged while those who work hard to treat them properly will be blessed.