“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Rule #1: The boss is always right.
Rule #2: When the boss is wrong, refer to rule #1.
Many years ago, one of my friends was telling me about his daughter’s boyfriend. He had dropped out of college and was trying to find his place in the world. My friend, being the caring and loving father that he was, was beginning to get worried. He didn’t only care for his daughter, but he also cared for this young man. I asked him how they were doing? He scoffed and shook his head slowly side to side. He went on to tell me he had a job at a chain restaurant on the Front Range. He told me things were going pretty well, and then one day he came over to talk. He was supposed to be at work, so my friend knew something was wrong. He asked the young man what had happened.
“I quit!” the boy said with disgust.
“What do you mean?” ... What happened?” asked my friend sympathetically.
The boy continued ... “It was my boss, he asked me to take out the trash. I don’t do trash!”
I forget what my friend said after that because I was laughing so hard. I think I replied loudly and sarcastically, “I don’t doooooo trash?????!!!!”
I was shocked. He quit his job, (the only job he had, mind you) because he didn’t want to take out the trash. (Wow.)
My friend had a chat with his daughter about Junior’s philosophy on life (or something like that).
In Colossians 3:17, Paul doesn’t exclude anything. He reminds God’s people that, “
you do, whether in word or deed ...,” that everything they do is in the name of Jesus and for His people.
The great theologians John Calvin and Martin Luther both spoke boldly and often about the wonderful and powerful gift of vocation.
“We should note that the Lord commands every one of us in all the actions of our lives, to be faithful to our calling. For he knows that the human mind burns with restlessness, that it is swept easily hither and thither, and that its ambition to embrace many things at once is insatiable. Therefore, to prevent that general confusion being produced by our folly and boldness, he has appointed to everyone his particular duties in the different spheres of life. And, that no one might rashly go beyond his limits, he has called such spheres of life vocations, or callings. Every individual’s sphere of life, therefore, is a post assigned him by the Lord.”
– John Calvin
“God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.”
– Martin Luther
God’s word tells us we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (See Mark 12:20-31.)
Vocation is a wonderful gift God has given each and every one of us. Vocation is not contained or restrained to a paycheck, but it is every station or “post” in which we are assigned at a particular time. This might include being the best husband you can be to your wife, or the best father to your children. It might include being the best wife to your husband or daughter to your mother. This might include completing a spreadsheet at work, cooking dinner for the neighbors, or (horror of horrors) taking out the trash for your boss.
God’s redemptive act of incarnation points to the importance of life on earth in God’s creation. In Christ, God affirms that His creation is good and we are to care for all of it together as we work for Him. The Christian life, therefore, is not an escape from the world in which we live but a calling to work for it to glorify its Creator.
After the reformation there was a resurgence in work ethic, because great theologians pointed to God’s Word and reminded the people who they were working for! It was coined the “Protestant Work Ethic.” Hard-working women and men gave it everything they had in whatever vocation they were called to at the time, knowing they were working for much more than a paycheck - they were working for the Lord. When we know that we are working for the Lord, it changes our perspective. We can joyfully go about our daily tasks with smiles on our faces and motivation in our hearts. We are working for The Lord and what a pleasure it is!
See you Sunday! Gotta go ... time to take out the trash.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.”