“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
I have a deep, dark confession to make to the Internet: I’m a workaholic.
It’s true. I literally don’t know how to stop working. My friends tell me they worry about me – I’m constantly exhausted, and my to-do list never leaves my sight. Seriously – my New Year’s Resolution this year was to make myself stop working after dinner and on Sundays, and it has been a daily battle. I’m juggling at least a dozen balls at any given time, and I’m keeping them all in the air – I’m succeeding at everything. I get lots done! Which is good, right? But recently I began to think about the motive behind my tireless work ethic, and I realized that we had a problem.
Colossians 3:23 is a fairly common verse; my mom has quoted it to me for years. It tells us to work with all our heart, no matter what we’re doing. Check – I’ve got that part down. I don’t see the point in doing something if I’m only going to do it halfway. Unfortunately, though, I think that’s the point where I tend to stop listening. The rest of the verse – work as though you are working for the Lord, not for people – is just as important.
The Message translation advises us to “work from the heart for your real Master – for God.” Like I said, I do a lot of things, and I do them well. I take pride in the fact that I do them well. But who am I really doing them for? When I proudly accept praise for an article I wrote, smiling as people compliment me, I’m certainly not working for the Lord. I’m really not even working for other people – I’m just working for me.
It feels good to get praise for our work, but that praise should not be our ultimate goal. We need to learn to direct the praise for our work where it’s actually due – above us.
I read a phrase in the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst that said, “Jesus isn’t into the rat race.” The author used the words “abide,” “dwell,” and “delight” to describe the slower rhythms of life that Jesus desires we use with Him. She also pointed out that in Mark 3:14-15, the first thing the disciples were meant to do was to be with Jesus – then they were to go out and preach.
This year, as I have made a conscious effort to stop working, I have used that downtime to examine the motive behind my work. I pray I can let go of my pride and truly have an attitude of working for the Lord.
~Guest Author Hailey Hudson~