“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.”
(Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)
There’s a mistake we often make in the Christian life. What I’m referring to is our tendency to believe that we serve God only through the ministry of the church. We think that we only serve God by becoming a pastor or missionary. We think that we serve God only by teaching Sunday School or serving on the church council. However, in reality, we serve God in every aspect of our life.
This truth is brought out in the above passage. Paul leads up to this statement by telling us how we’re to live as wives, husbands, children, and even slaves. He then tells us that we’re to work with all our heart in everything we do. He tells us that, in everything, we are to work with all of our heart, as for the Lord and not for men.
In all of our worldly duties, and in all of our worldly relationships, we are serving God. Others will be blessed in the process, of course. But, ultimately, we are serving him.
Keeping this in mind helps us to work with all of our heart. When we’re called to serve someone who’s offended us, when we’re called to serve someone who’s hateful or ungrateful, it gives us the motivation we need. Thoughts of retaliation, thoughts of returning evil with evil, are replaced by a desire to glorify God.
When we’re tired, and even when we’re struggling with selfishness, it gives us the motivation we need. It takes our focus off of ourselves and places it where it belongs. It causes us to fix our eyes upon the Lord.
This also makes our day-to-day duties seem less monotonous. It turns our duties, which seem less than spiritual, into a response of faith. Doing the dishes becomes a response of faith. Doing the laundry becomes a response of faith. Cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom, paying the bills, mowing the lawn, and making household repairs all become a response of faith. It does so because, in even these small ways, we’re serving the Lord.
Martin Luther once said this: “The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” In other words, we serve God by doing our job well. We glorify him by performing our duties to the best of our ability.