Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.
This is the opportunity of a lifetime. If you raise children, raise them for the Lord. If you build houses, build them for the Lord. If you fix teeth, fix them for the Lord. If you bus tables, bus them for the Lord. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:24), wrote Paul. Christians should be exceptional workers since we are working for the Lord.
A friend of mine had a bad attitude at work because he thought he knew more than his boss. Then he read this verse and learned that his real boss was Jesus Christ. Suddenly he was one of the most respectful employees at work. He also began to pray for his company, and found himself enjoying his job more than ever.
Imagine this: one businessman said to another, Guess what—I just hired a Christian! The other said, That’s wonderful! I wish I could find a Christian to hire. They are so dependable, hardworking and conscientious. They make the very best employees (Del Tackett, slightly revised). If Christians viewed their jobs as a way of serving Christ, they would change the world. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.
Colossians 3:24 [Y]ou will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
Paul was speaking to slaves who may have felt underpaid, and unlike family, they were not in line for an inheritance. To help with their discouragement, Paul reminded them of the inheritance they would receive in the age to come. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18), he wrote.
Many years ago there was a radio program called Missing Heirs. Every week they would announce the names of people who had inherited fortunes but did not know it. Thousands listened weekly, and some heard their names. We can imagine their joy as they went downtown to receive their inheritance.
Suppose you were one of them, but a mile out of town your car broke down. You would not be upset, because you could walk the rest of the way. And if your shoes fell apart you would not be upset, because you could go barefoot the rest of the way. And if it started to rain you would not be upset, because you were extremely close to receiving your inheritance. This is why Christians have joy even in difficult times. We are on the way to receive our inheritance, and we are almost there!
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer.
Prayer is nothing more and nothing less than talking to our heavenly Father. But words don’t always come easily, so Jesus provided some words for us: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:9-13).
These words can be said thoughtfully, in under a minute, at the start of every day. I cannot think of a better way to start any day than by praying as Jesus taught. You can pray the Lord’s Prayer with your spouse before work, or with your children at the breakfast table. If we only did that, and nothing more, it would be a big step in the right direction for many of us.
But we do not have to stop there. We can devote ourselves to prayer, and even pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17), wrote Paul. Whenever you have a problem, tell your heavenly Father. Whenever you have a wish, tell your heavenly Father. Whenever you are thankful, tell your heavenly Father. Jesus said, the Father himself loves you (John 16:27), and therefore he loves to hear from you.
Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
In the daily routines of life, Christians interact with outsiders, and may be able to present the gospel. If you are willing to memorize four easy questions, they may help you lead someone to Christ. First, Do you believe that you are a sinner? Second, Do you want to be forgiven? Third, Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Fourth, Will you receive him as your Lord?
Even if they answer no to one of the questions, they may say yes another time. But if they answer yes to all four questions, you can pray with them to receive Christ. [To] all who did receive him . . . he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12), wrote John.
I found this approach to be helpful when my father was dying. I was able to ask these questions, and to my surprise, he answered yes to each one. Then we prayed to receive the Lord. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
Colossians 4:17 See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.
Paul addressed these words to Archippus, a man who is only mentioned one other time in the Bible, where Paul referred to him as our fellow soldier (Philemon 1:2). Apparently, this soldier of Christ got sidetracked, however, since Paul had to remind him to complete the task that God had given him.
God has given each of us a task, and does not want us to quit. One lady taught Sunday school for forty-three years, without missing a week. She even rescheduled surgery so she would not have to be absent. It is not a duty and I’m not showing off, she said. She simply found a place of usefulness and remained faithful to her task.
Reflection and Review
How do you feel about your job?
Why is it hard to share the gospel?
What task has God given to you?