WORK SHOULD BE HEARTFELT, HONEST, WITH ASSURED EXPECTATION
By Peter Paul Marcelo, BCBP Pasay Chapter Head
“Work As Unto The Lord” This is the theme of our 7th Pasay Chapter Anniversary (June 7, 2014).
St Paul exhorted the young church in Colossae with these words: “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”
Reflecting on this message, three important points come to mind.
One: We must work from the heart.
Two: Work done honestly becomes holy.
Three: There is assured expectation, if we do so.
One: We must work from the heart. Yes, it’s a command.
St Paul said work heartily. At first, I was struggling with these words. I was asking the Lord what Paul meant when he said work heartily, or work from the heart.
I recall when I was still with the military,we have a term we fondly call AIDS. When somebody asks, “What are you doing?” “Ohh, AIDS – As If Doing Something” looking busy but not really doing anything. AIDS.
One researcher said that only one-fourth of employees give their best on the job and that around 20-percent of the average worker’s time is wasted (Kent Hughes, The Disciplines of a Godly Man)
How often have we encountered an office scene where one man is seriously doing his work while his co-workers are also busy playing solitaire or chit-chatting on facebook. This happens in both private and government offices. Employees will slack off if the boss is not around, then suddenly become “Mr. Efficiency” when he is nearby.
The typical attitude of most people is to be boss-pleasers, to please top management even if it means sacrificing principles in the process. The motivation may be for a pat on the back, a raise, a promotion, or bragging rights. In the work relationship it may involve doing underhanded things to put oneself in a better position. Or it can mean walking over others to make one look good in the eyes of an employer.
But the power of the gospel must generate a new attitude in us towards our work.
St Paul tells us to work diligently even when the boss is not around. To do otherwise reveal that the desire to work is not present; instead there is only the longing to keep in the good graces of the employer.
Paul’s command is to do our work instead “with sincerity of heart,” Such a command contemplates a right motive for work. The word implies that the Christian is so intent on pleasing the Lord in all that he does, that he pursues his work diligently, with the aim of honoring Christ by his efforts and accomplishments. By this attitude, he is being sanctified such that the peace of Christ rules in his heart and the word of Christ richly dwells within him.
I also believe that there is a sin on the erroneous motivation for work or the sin of pleasing men rather than pleasing the Lord. In a crude way, this kind of sin gives the position of sovereignty to someone else. Instead of realizing that “promotion comes from the Lord,” it is resorting to whatever techniques or smooth words or deceitful actions might be necessary to persuade an earthly boss to grant favor.
The sin of pleasing men rather than God brings me to my next point: Work done honestly for the purpose of pleasing God is holy.
One may argue, “How can I do that?” Ergo, Please God when the work I do has nothing to do with the gospel? It would be so easy if you are working in the parish church, in a religious community, doing religious activity or in something that is related to the religious life.
Again, St Paul reminds us that “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” This statement turns secular work into sacred work. Hence, our attitude toward work is to see it as a sacred duty in service to the Lord. It may have nothing to do with gospel ministry, but it has everything to do with representing Christ and the gospel in the marketplace. Hence, you become Christ’s ambassadors in your workplace.
Here, the secular/sacred distinction of work disappears, All honest work done for the Lord, whatever it may be, big or small, great or insignificant, routine or special, is sacred in God’s eyes.
My final point: Assured Expectation. Working as unto the Lord will bring assured expectation. There are unfortunate employees who face the problem of a “cheapskate” boss who uses every possible means to keep from paying them a fair wage or of companies with obscure promotion programs. As mere employees, people often are left at the mercy of the company’s desires.
But the Christian employee should have a different view. The Lord Christ is the one he is serving, so the Christian is assured that the Lord will one day reward his diligence “knowing that from the Lord he will receive the reward of inheritance.”
If you think your promotion or retirement program is bad, while you labored diligently, and your company cheats on your pay or offers you no assurance of provisions for the future, your assurance comes in knowing that there is a better reward ahead coming from the Lord himself. We must learn to live with a clear view that the Lord is our ultimate Provider.
It is a fact that many people are not satisfied with their jobs. And I will not be surprised if many of you have something bad to say about your company, about your boss, about pay, your work, or your working conditions. But you know what? When people see someone working diligently with a sense of enthusiasm and thankfulness for the work despite the seemingly dismal conditions, they see something out of the ordinary. This supernatural joy attracts attention to the power of the Gospel.
These are my three thoughts on the scripture message. Let us work heartily for the Lord, working with the intention of pleasing Him rather than man – this is an explicit command. This attitude turns secular work into something sacred and pleasing to Him. Finally, if we do this, we are assured of a lasting reward. This is His promise.
All of life is to be under submission to the Lordship of Christ. The Christian’s work life, through this attitude of doing all unto the Lord, can help demonstrate the gospel’s power in fallen men.
The world says, work hard so that you will get ahead and earn that promotion.
The world says work hard to earn more money. With more money, you can buy a lot of things that will make you happy.
But the Scripture commands, work hard so that the world will know whom you are working for. This is our ultimate motivation.
Brothers and Sisters, allow me to end with a point of reflection: Does our attitude in our work manifest the reality of Jesus Christ as Lord in our life?
As we close this anniversary celebration and look forward to another fruitful year, let us work diligently, whether in the workplace, serving in the BCBP community, or serving your family and friends. You are working for the glory of God!
Happy 7th Chapter Anniversary to all! Thank you and God bless.