The bible begins with God working. The first attribute of God declared by scripture is God as Creator (Genesis 1:1). Adam, our federal head, is set to work shortly after being created (Genesis 2:15). In fact, when God created mankind, He established that we would rule the other creatures that were made (Genesis 1:25). The account of Genesis informs us that working is distinctly divine, and as humans work, we in some way mimic our Creator. But like everything, sin distorts what God designed to be beautiful. When work should be enjoyable and fruitful, it is can often be laborious and disappointing. Through Jesus, what sin seeks to destroy God will redeem (Romans 8:19-25). In this fallen world, we can often find ourselves in work environments that are unappealing. It can be hard to muster the attitude and work ethic we ought to have to work in a God glorifying way. So, if you’re in a job you don’t like, what should you do?
Help, I Hate My Job
I’m sure most of us that will read this article have been in a job that they hated. The dread of waking up for your shift, interacting with your colleagues, dealing with your boss; the thought of the working day can be an unending source of frustration. In this life, money is required to live and as such this may lead to working in roles that are unpleasant. No matter how unpleasant these roles are God still expects us to work in such a way that glorifies Him.
Paul when exhorting the church in Colossae said this to slaves “Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord” (Colossians 3:22). Now while the work dynamic of today is not the same as 1st Century Rome, we can still be encouraged by the message Paul presents. God establishes all authority (Romans 13:1). God is also sovereign over all circumstances, including where you and I go to work (Proverbs 16:33). Like slaves, it is possible for us to be in work conditions that are less than favourable. Paul reminds us that ultimately our boss at work is not our ultimate Boss. God reigns supreme over managers, colleagues, and work situations. We don’t work diligently and faithfully because our work conditions are favourable; but because we “fear” the Lord (Colossians 3:22). Paul prescribes reverence for God as the anti-dote to being apathetic towards our jobs. Does the fear of God drive you to be faithful at your job?
The Lord Will Repay
Sin distorts everything. Sin can take what God calls good and influence us to think or behold that good thing in a way that dishonours God. One way in which sin does this is, is by how we think about reward. In an attempt to disavow the heresy that is the “prosperity gospel”, we can downplay the very clear promises of God rewarding faithfulness. Paul continues his exhortation in Colossians this way “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24). Do you see what Paul does here? Paul roots the impetus for our faithfulness in receiving a reward from Christ. Paul is saying to us “remember who you ultimately work for. You may not get what you deserve here on earth, but God doesn’t miss a beat. He will repay you”.
I know how frustrating it can be to work in a job you don’t like. I know hard it can be to stay motivated when you work so hard, but you’re always overlooked. I know what it’s like to have colleagues that aren’t pleasant. It’s tough. But not only do I know; God knows. He cares for you. He sees your tears, pain and frustration and He says, “keep going”. You may not be in the job that you like right now, but remember you ultimately have a good Boss who has an everlasting and imperishable inheritance with your name on it.