“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)
Last night after dinner, I ventured out in the face-melting Texas heat to fish in a neighborhood pond. I met a young man there who had recently graduated college with a finance degree, but due to COVID-19 was immediately laid off from his first finance job. He currently works in a seasonal position at a retail store, as it was the only job he could get at the time. He said it’s definitely not ideal. With many losing their primary jobs due to the pandemic, you may find yourself in a similar situation.
How many of us can truly claim that we have our dream job? As many times as I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s not my dream job, but hey- it pays the bills!”, I would venture to say that it’s rare when someone actually does. Even for myself, if money wasn’t a factor and I could freely choose whatever job I’d like, it would be different than what I’m doing today. Nevertheless, as Christians, I submit to you that God has us in certain places at certain times and even in certain jobs for a reason; and we would be wise to take advantage of it.
In this particular passage of Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, he is encouraging believers to do whatever job they currently have as unto the Lord, and to do it well. The caveat here is that the job must be God-honoring in itself and not one that promotes or endorses sin (Col. 3:5), as that type of work can’t be done in service to the Lord. Otherwise, whatever job you have, put in your best effort; not for man’s approval, but because your efforts are for the Lord.
Within every workplace and position, God will give you opportunities to grow spiritually and/or to shine the light of Christ. If you’re not in an ideal job or maybe in one that you don’t like at all, before developing an attitude of grumbling or complaining, pray about it. Before asking God to give you a new job and jumping ship, ask Him why He may have you there in the first place. Matter of fact, this even applies to those who may have recently lost their jobs and currently find themselves in a state of unemployment.
Is He trying to grow your faith, your patience, or your dependence on Him? Is He trying to humble you, break down your pride, or reveal heart issues you may have? Is He trying to stretch your capabilities, expand your experiences, grow you in areas of weakness, or build specific skills? Is He building your contentment in Him whatever the circumstance (Phil. 4:11), rather than you finding your satisfaction solely in the job itself or the money that comes from it? Is He putting you in the presence of people whom He wants you to minister to, to speak God’s truth into their lives, to share Christ’s love with, or to share the gospel with?
A goal we should have in every job situation we find ourselves in, is to seek the Lord and understand the spiritual implications of why He’s allowed you to be there. It may have been a selfish and unwise decision that led you to your current position, or it may have been God specifically appointing you to be there. Regardless, He can and will use it for good if you seek His purpose through it (Rom. 8:28). When we fail to do this, we will likely feel discontent and waste the spiritual opportunity He’s given us, and it’ll end up being just another “job to pay the bills”.
It’s okay to dream about the next thing, but be faithful where you are first. When you surrender your work to the Lord, you will reap spiritual rewards that you never knew were there to claim in the first place, and in turn, bring honor to God.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Luke 16 when Jesus says,
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12)
Work may just be work to you, but realize it’s also a place of service where you are building your heavenly inheritance. He can trust you with spiritual riches if He can trust you with the seemingly mundane tasks of your job. If and when He leads you to do something else, then take both the lessons learned and an attitude of gratitude with you!
Be encouraged and do your job with dedication, integrity, and joy, knowing that there is more to gain than a promotion or paycheck. In the end, your work is for the Lord.