by Tommy Valentine
March 22, 2014
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” – Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
You aren’t good enough for this church.
You aren’t Christian enough.
You aren’t worthy.
You don’t work hard enough to deserve the title “Christian.”
You don’t work hard enough.
All of these are ways that – in the past – this verse has made me feel. At one point, more than fourteen years ago, it scared me enough to pack my bags and leave Christianity. After all, if I am responsible for doing each thing as if I am working for the Lord himself, how could anyone ever live up to that expectation? I think, especially for those of us that are hard on ourselves, it is easy to always believe that we have held back. It is easy to punish ourselves later, believing we should have given more. For those of us with those feelings, this verse can be a punch in the gut. This verse can, easily, remind us that we are not doing all things under the terms of faith that we would do if God was physically present among us.
Fortunately, I feel that I know God better now than I did when, at 16, I read that verse for the first time. So now, with his aid, I feel I understand the scripture in a truer way. It is the following epiphany, which has come to me only recently, that I hope works as a devotional to your day:
Doing things for the Lord, with all your heart, does not mean simply to exert yourself. It is not simply about working hard, because God’s requirements are rarely that simple. Instead, we must work for the Lord in the way that most pleases him. Every boss is different, and our heavenly supervisor is especially unique. Through the Bible, he asks us to love. To show kindness. To remember the prisoner. To value meekness over riches, sincerity over shows of grandeur, and the kingdom of heaven over the power of the world. To judge not lest we be judged. To give our jacket to those that would ask for our shirt. To forgive others … and ourselves. God doesn’t ask us to do things with all our might, or all our strength. God asks us to do it with all our heart.
As we move through the season of Lent, we should remember that in order for Jesus to die, he had to live. That the reason his death is a tragedy is not solely because he was innocent, but also because of the potential he represented. The message he brought to earth was beautiful, compelling, and kind. That man, the man who died on the cross, deserves our efforts. He deserves us to not only work hard, but to follow his instructions. We must do all things as if we are working directly for him, not for the “human masters” that surround us.
As you go throughout your day today, work in a way that you can imagine bringing a smile to the face of the Lord. In doing so, try to take a moment and sense his joy at your good work.
Most of all, realize the following:
He finds you worthy.
He is glad you are in his church.
He loves your work.
He loves you.