For Whom Are You Working?
By Amy Schmitz Ruiz
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what He has kept for His people. For Christ is the real master you serve.” –Colossians 3:23-24 (Good News Translation)
I am one of the first ones to admit that since childhood, I could easily be the poster child for the “People Pleaser Perfectionist Club.” I’ve always struggled with wanting approval from others and often making decisions based on what others might think of me. In school, I worked to please teachers and parents. In my career, I worked for the accolades of bosses. As a spouse, I’ve wanted my husband to think that I was the best housewife. In all areas of work in my life, it seemed I cared more about what others would think than actually doing my best for the Lord, the One whose opinion really matters. With God’s help, I have matured in this area over the years; however, it is my “go-to” thought pattern if I am not conscious of resisting it.
The problem with working to please others is that you can never please everyone, and you will always be left guessing and disappointed. Also, working for others alone—especially when the task is drudgery and unappreciated—can leave one feeling bitter and worn down. Our attitudes toward our “bosses” suffer and our overall mental well-being declines.
Nothing brings our own sin patterns more to light than watching our children starting to pick up our bad habits. I knew I needed to work more on myself and focus on setting a better example for my children when it came to my attitudes about work and people-pleasing. I didn’t want them to believe that people-pleasing perfectionism was the way to go. To this measure, I decided to make Colossians 3:23-24 our family theme verse for homeschool this year. It seemed we all needed the reminder, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what He has kept for his people. For Christ is the real Master you serve.”
After nine months of working to live out these verses, here are some of the takeaways:
1. Sometimes we must do things we don’t want to do, but when we remember that God has a plan and we are working for Him, it can make that work more rewarding and less like drudgery. Even menial tasks can seem important when they are being done for the Lord. We will find ourselves more content and grumbling less when our minds are on working for the Lord.
2. Other’s opinions matter a lot less when we are working for the Lord. In the end, our boss, parent, teacher, or other “supervisor” might not be pleased, but if we give our best to the Lord, we can tune out the negativity and turn to the One who says “Well done, My son or daughter.”
3. When working to please God alone, there is less likelihood we will compare ourselves with others. Comparisons never help us. They will either cause us to feel resentful if we think someone is being treated better than we are, or cause us to feel pride if we think we are being favored. When we take this verse to heart, we understand that we are not working to try to be better than anyone else because our journey is a personal matter between us and God.
4. When we work unto the Lord, we will find ourselves being more thankful. After all, we are working for a loving Father who has always cared for and provided for us. We know what God expects and we know He will empower us to do whatever He asks of us.
5. Our real reward is not the human praise we often seek, but to know that we have a great reward awaiting us in the end.
You may dislike your job and your boss might not appreciate you—but Jesus is Lord over you, and He is wonderful. Serve Him with passion and that will transform the way you view your work.