Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).
- Colossians 3:23-24 AMP
The whole time I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a godly grandmother living with me and my family. "Granny" taught me my first prayers, and she gave me my very first Bible lessons. She was also the first one to teach me how to do things "as unto the Lord." As a young child, if I had a difficult or distasteful task to do, I would go running to my grandmother with my complaints and resentments, and she would tell me--"Just do it, and say, 'All for You, O Lord.'" Somehow, saying those words beforehand made all the difference. When I had school work to do, and I dreaded it, I offered it up to the Lord, and I really felt like I was doing it for Him, instead of for my teacher, or anyone else. When my parents asked me to be nice to my siblings after they hurt me or made me angry, I did it for the Lord, instead of for them. Whenever I used this strategy, I was not only able to do things that I couldn't have otherwise done, but I even did them with a good attitude.
When I began studying the Bible in-depth some years ago, I was delighted to discover that my grandmother's instructions actually had some Scriptural basis. The apostle Paul wrote: "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men..." (Colossians 3:23 NKJV) I have found this principle especially handy as a wife and mother. When I've asked my family to do something for the umpteenth time, and my pleas have gone unheeded, I have often opted to do it myself, saying, "All for You, O Lord." That doesn't mean that I don't confront my loved ones when I feel it's warranted, but that there are times when I sense that the Lord would rather have me keep quiet and handle the matter myself, than make an issue of it. If I didn't offer these things up to the Lord, there would be no way that I could do them without resentment or complaint, and there would be a lot more strife in my household.
Paul goes on to say in this passage that no matter what we are doing, the One we "are actually serving is the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:24 AMP) In other words, we need to keep a heavenly perspective when we are performing tasks at work, at school, and in our homes. If we will keep our focus on pleasing God wherever we are, and whatever we're doing, we will be less likely to be dishonest, to do shoddy work, or to have a bad attitude. Ultimately, it's the Lord we will answer to for our attitudes and actions. Paul concludes this passage by warning, "He who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality." (Colossians 3:25 NASB)
In this passage, and in another one like it by Paul, we discover that the Lord is eager to reward us for the things we do with a right heart. Ephesians 6:6-8 MSG says: "Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master..." Not only does the Lord want us to do our best in everything we do, but He wants us to do it with enthusiasm and joy. How do we accomplish this? By keeping in mind that we're actually doing it for GOD, and that our reward will come from HIM.
The next time you're in the middle of something that prompts you to ask--"Why on earth am I doing this??"--remind yourself that it's "because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him." (Colossians 3:22 AMP) And claim by faith those blessed rewards that belong to those who do it for HIM!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to perform all of my tasks wholeheartedly, and with enthusiasm and joy. Remind me that I'm actually doing them for You, rather than for people. When I'm tempted to complain, or become resentful or angry, help me to declare, "Lord, this is for You!" Thank You that as I am faithful to obey, You are faithful to richly reward me!
- J. M. Farro