“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
– Colossians 3:23-24
As we have just followed the Labor Day holiday weekend, it’s a good time to discuss the topic of the work ethics of Christians. The concept is the same whether we call it a “Christian work ethic” or a “Protestant work ethic” or a “Puritan work ethic.”
The early church in America put a strong focus on hard work. It could also be argued that this focus helped fuel modern capitalism. However, capitalism is in contrast to the Bible, which puts service and purpose above Mammon.
Purpose not work
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:58
Joy in what we do comes from knowing that our work serves a purpose. There is no higher purpose in life than serving the will of the Lord.
The Scriptures encourage us to serve others
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
– Galatians 6:2
Repeatedly throughout the Bible, Christians are encouraged to serve others.
“The greatest among you shall be your servant.”
– Matthew 23:11
Young people today are looking for careers that have a purpose, rather than simply a high paying job. Unfortunately, younger people are also the largest group turning away from religion. However, this search for purpose is one area where religious leaders can seek to bridge the gap and lead young people toward Christianity.
Your purpose is good, serving the Lord
Today’s verse reminds us that our ultimate goal is to serve the Lord not men.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”
– Colossians 3:23
However, this verse is easily misunderstood. It does not mean that we do not serve others. It means we serve the will of God first – not the will of men. The will of God is that we serve others, especially the poor, orphans, widows and the needy.