Work That Pleases God

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What does God think about our work? The apostle Paul offers a clue in Ephesians 6:5-9.

First, he admonishes us to obey our supervisors respectfully, underscoring God’s order of authority. We know that not all leaders are good ones. Paul understood this and it is evident in his writing. But his point is that God is honored by our obedience to and respect for the position. When we serve our managers, we please God our ultimate authority. It is not far-fetched to believe that our service to God in this manner is one way he makes an end of bad authority.

Second, Paul advises us to be sincere in our work. He also adds that we should work hard even when we’re not being watched, which can be hard when the work is monotonous or disliked. Working as unto God is no protection from boring, unnerving work. Work can also be personally burdensome when there are other important things needing to be handled. But should we shirk our responsibilities when we get tired or upset? Is it fine to leave our work behind for others to do? Are we to work less because others are loafing? This is when sincerity matters.

Third, Paul tells us to work enthusiastically. There is no better work accomplished than that done joyfully, creatively, and with excellence. Even if the job is doing one thing a thousand times a day, it is the attitude that counts. We should strive for the best thousand of any other worker! We can work on behalf of all the people who will buy the product. We can work with gratefulness that we have a job and money to provide for ourselves and our families. We can work because we truly love it, the workplace and our coworkers. Work this way, Paul says, because the true reward for good work ultimately comes from God and is in God.

(Stop and think: how did Jesus do his work? What did he like and hate about it? Was he ever subject to a bad boss? Was he satisfied with his pay?)

This is how we do our work “as to the Lord” (Col. 3:23, KJV). Paul has presented us with a clear picture of the spiritual life reminding us that faith pervades every area of daily living, even our rote responsibilities. Acting as our Lord did, we become agents of redemption and transform the secular and mundane into sacrament, and all becomes an offering to God.

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