This is another RBC devotional I wrote for this month (next month Our Daily Journey goes live). I may have tried to fit too much theology into it. Let me know if you think it is too dense.
read > Colossians 3:23
Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Michelangelo had begun what figured to be his crowning achievement—chiseling marble statues for the tomb of Pope Julius II—when the pope pulled him away for a menial task unworthy of the artist’s great skill. Michelangelo protested that many lesser painters could repair the plaster ceiling of the pope’s chapel, and he fled Rome in a futile attempt to avoid doing it. He detested the pope for forcing him into this assignment—some scholars believe that his fresco contains a cherub “giving the finger” to an Old Testament prophet who looks suspiciously like Julius—but Michelangelo gave it his best and transformed a repair job into the masterpiece of the Sistine Chapel.
Despite Michelangelo’s cryptic insult to the pope, his commitment to always do his best typifies Paul’s command to the Colossians to “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord.” Why does Paul say that our work is “for the Lord”?
Earlier in Colossians Paul declares that Jesus is the Creator, “the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth” (Colossians 1:16). If Jesus is the Creator, then he is the one who “placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it” (Genesis 2:15) and who commanded Adam and Eve to “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Theologians call this initial command the “cultural mandate,” for humans who follow it inevitably produce higher forms of culture.
Where does your job fit into this picture? How does what you do serve others and contribute to the development of culture? Answer that question and you will discover how your work is “for the Lord.” Then give him your cheerful best, whether you are doing a repair job, painting a masterpiece, or both.—Mike Wittmer
more > Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ (Colossians 3:24).
next > The biblical importance of work led Luther and Calvin to describe every job as a divine calling. How might this perspective change how you think about work and the way you work?