Bible Reading Blog

Bible Reading Blog

“Work Hard”

Categories: Congregational Bible Reading

BIBLE READING: Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Colossians 3.23)

We should be encouraged that in God’s kingdom there is work that we all can do. But we must also understand that Jesus expects us to work, and to work hard. This general admonition applies not just to specific efforts of faith, but (as Paul showed in the context of Colossians 3) to every moment in life (see Colossians 3.18-24). God’s people are known for making the best use of their time (Ephesians 5.16) and treating every opportunity as an occasion to serve the Lord.   

For some, this verse is an admonition to set aside laziness and get to work. Our culture has conditioned us to seek comfort which can lead us to apathy rather than urgency. We must see that idleness is inconsistent with the example of Christ, the New Testament believers, and the teaching of scripture (see 2 Thessalonians 3.6-12). The wise man emphatically said, “Go to the ant you sluggard and learn his ways” (Proverbs 6.6-11). In other words, laziness is unwise and unacceptable. There are seasons of rest where we enjoy God’s grace, but we must never stop working for the Lord. In fact, the scriptures encourage us to become more determined to work as we mature in faith (Philippians 3.12-16; 2 Peter 1.12-15). As Paul would say, “Let those of us who are mature think this way” (Philippians 3.15). Our calling is to be devoted to good works (Titus 3.8, 14), and not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6.9).

For some, this is an admonition to pursue proper approval. There are many who work hard because they want to be seen by others. They want the recognition for their actions. “Beware of practicing your righteousness to be seen by others,” Jesus would warn. “For then you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6.1-2). Frankly speaking, men can be appeased by mediocrity or deceived by one who gives the occasional appearance of industry. But God sees and expects us to work from the heart and not simply for pretense. Do your work in a way that God would be pleased and not just those who will see you.

For all, this is a call to be diligent in what we do regardless of the circumstances. Our life has purpose and value, even in the most mundane moments, because our service reflects greater truths about God and Christ. “Even though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but humbled himself taking the form of a servant…” (Philippians 2.6-7). It is not the magnitude of our efforts but the determination of our hearts that God honors. Just like Christ, if we submit ourselves to service in this lifetime, we have the glory from God before us to live in for all of eternity. And so, let us have this mind in ourselves, to work hard as for the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain (Philippians 2.3; Colossians 3.23; 1 Corinthians 15.58).