“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” – Ephesians 6:7
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” – Colossians 3:23
What does it mean when you do your work for the Lord rather than for people?
Obviously it depends on the work you do and your attitude towards work. For some it will mean increasing their effort and attention towards their work. Others it will mean backing away from the amount of work they do to spend more time with family and to keep from making work an idol. For some it will mean working with greater integrity and honesty or treating their co-workers and customers in a more Christ-like manner. The Holy Spirit will convict, guide, and encourage each in the areas of our work.
One aspect that I thought about recently and wanted to mention because I hadn’t heard it–or at least don’t remember hearing it–is that in some cases working for the Lord and not for man removes pressure and anxiety. What I mean is if we are working for the Lord and looking to please Him, we don’t have to worry so much about what other people think or the pressures they put on us. God knows the abilities He has given us, God knows the effort and time we put forth on a project. He understands the obstacles and challenges we face. He knows when we have “put in a good day’s work” and we don’t need to be chained and burdened by the expectations of others–bosses, co-workers, or customers–especially unrealistic or harmful expectations.
God is not a cruel taskmaster. Psalms 127:2 says,
“In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.”
The point isn’t that you won’t ever need to get up early or stay up late, the point is that you don’t have to wear yourself out working. God provides for our needs and part of what He provides is rest. We can rest knowing we are in God’s hands. Whatever work we are doing, if we are doing it for the Lord, we can know that rest is part of God’s plan for us. That’s why he created the Sabbath and set the example Himself, both in creation and during Jesus’s earthly ministry.
Work for the Lord. Look to please Him and honor Him. He will give you wisdom and balance. Let God release you from the expectations and opinions of others and give you rest.