“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:24-25, NIV).
In these verses from Colossians the Apostle Paul counsels people who are slaves and Christians.
Slavery in the ancient Roman Empire was a common practice and there was a vast population of Roman slaves. Slaves were most often prisoners of war but could also be the families of desperate Roman citizens facing hard times. Slaves were so commonplace in Roman society that in addition to being household servants and laborers, they could hold professional positions such as teachers or public servants.
Because of the preponderance of slavery in ancient Roman society, it’s only reasonable that when Paul addresses the subject of relationships in Christian families that he would also include the relationship between slaves and their masters.
“But Jesus responded to them, ‘My Father is still working, and I am working also’ … ‘I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way” ( John 5:17, 19, HCSB).
This somewhat cryptic response to the Jewish religious leaders was given by Jesus as a defense for healing a man on the Sabbath who had been sick for 38 years.
So why did Jesus answer their accusations in this way?
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3, ESV).
For most of us, the job we do to earn a living may seem far removed from serving God and advancing His Kingdom. This proverb tells us how to reconcile this seeming incompatibility of working at your job with serving God.
When you commit the work that you do to the Lord, then you are asking God to consecrate it and use what you do to accomplish His will.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This admonition from the Apostle Paul is an assurance that you do not have to be involved in full-time ministry to be working for the Lord. Whether you are a teacher, truck driver, accountant, real estate agent, or whatever career you have, you should work hard at it and do a good job. What you are doing is for the glory of God, which gives it dignity, worth, and importance. According to this admonition every Christian is involved in full-time ministry because you should do your work in the name of Jesus—as if working for the Lord. This principle applies to both employers and employees.