Here we are – the conclusion to Balls of Priority – looking to discover what God has to say to us about the final ball – work.
And we have learned, and I keep repeating, that if we don’t prioritize faith as the #1 ball, we are assured we will let the other four – family, friends, health, and work –drop at some point. Faith, which is defined as obeying what God asks us to do, calls us to understand what God desires for the other four.
And when we do it God’s way, we have success – anyhow, much more success than those who don’t.
Faith shows us that families who desire to do it God’s ways have greater success and greater peace than those who do it on their own. Faith shows us that friendships, Godly friendships, are critical to our encouragement, our strength, and our resolve to persevere in our faith. Faith shows us that our bodies are not our own because Jesus paid the price for them. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And so even though we are free to do to our bodies anything we choose, God reminds us that not all things are beneficial for the body – for our health, especially those areas that become addictive or cause someone weaker in the faith to fall into sin.
But now faith is going to show us what God desires for us in our work.
Before jumping into the scripture reading, it is important to note that work, though a rubber ball that will bounce back when dropped, is not minimalized. Work is very important for our survival in this world. And it is also one of the greatest tools a Follower of Christ can use to witness of one’s faith. Work creates mission.
Colossians 3: 22 – 4:1 states, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.”
The Big Ideas from this passage are: Work with Integrity; Work for the Lord; and Work has Eternal Consequences.
Now before diving into the Big Ideas God has for us in our work, I want you to understand that Paul was not agreeing with the culture this church was living in, nor was he politically trying to change it. He believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if lived out in every aspect of life, would bring change: change to the one living out his/her faith and change to the one seeing this faith lived out. He was merely saying to the Colossian church, “This is our culture – the fallen culture which has said this is okay – and we are going to live in it as Jesus would have us live in it despite how wrong it may be.”
Paul had already taught the Colossian Church that Jesus, in His crucifixion, showed that fighting injustice with swords was not His desire – Jesus willingly took every bad thing done to Him without fighting back.
Paul wrote, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart, as working for the Lord.”
Work with Integrity
Paul was saying, “Jesus wants you to work for Him, but to work for Him you show it through your work for others. You see if you are working for Jesus, your work will be sincere. Your work will be done with integrity. You will not care if your earthly boss sees you working so that you might be praised. You will be praised because your boss will see the same quality work out of you whether he is watching or not. Your work should be a witness of your faith.”
Then Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
Work for the Lord
Paul makes it very clear, “Your boss is not man. Your boss is a ‘Jewish Carpenter’. So no matter what you do, whether work, raising a family, ministry, going to school, being a good steward of God’s resources, sports, cleaning your room, etc., do it for the Lord; and do it well. Do it well because it is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Work has Eternal Consequences
Paul said, “You’re working for the Lord, and He does see everything. Though you’re not to seek favoritism from your earthly bosses by putting on a show in front of them, you should give them your best effort whether you like them or not. And then your work will be for the Lord. Jesus, your real boss, actually will reward you with eternal inheritance, and you might even find yourself being rewarded by your earthly boss because of your integrity and hard work.”
Juggling the 5 balls of life is a challenge, but a challenge that can be met by prioritizing them. And by prioritizing them around our faith, we find what God desires for all of them.
God always wants the best for us. He wants the best for our families. He wants the best for our friendships. He wants the best for our health, our bodies. And He wants the best for our work.
And though we are part of a cursed world where everything is not fair, we can have what God desires for us by living as best as we can by obeying His commands and following His life-giving principles. How about you? Are you keeping the balls of life in the air? Are you giving God your best in all of them? Are you giving God all of yourself?