In the last podcast/blog, we looked at 1 Corinthians 10:31, which reads, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We learned that we should give God center stage, putting Him first in our lives and in the workplace. In any business transaction or interpersonal relationship, we need to remember that God is suppose to be center stage. The focus is on Him.
In this episode, we look at a text that speaks specifically as to how we are to perform our work in this next “whatever” verse. Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (NASV).
The Berean Literal Bible translation reads, “Whatever you might do, work from the soul, as to the Lord and not to men”. Other translations: “work at it with your whole being,” “work at it with all your heart,” and “work at it wholeheartedly.”
Heart and Soul
This “whatever” verse reminds me of the phrase, “Heart and Soul.” Colossians 3:23 basically says that we are to put our whole selves into working for the Lord. There is an old song from the 1930s called Heart and Soul. Many beginning music students are taught the tune as a duet to play on the piano.
In our “whatever” verse, where the Apostle Paul says to work wholeheartedly, he uses a word that means “to breath,” indicating the “breath of life” that Thayer describes as “the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing.” The word is also where we get the english word “psyche,” which is the soul, and more specifically, the person’s unique identity. The implication, then, is that we each put ourselves — our whole being — into working for the Lord.
Rick Warren said, “ In America it’s ok to be passionate about anything except God. That is not politically correct — to be passionate about God. I can be passionate about movies. I can be passionate about sports. I can be passionate about politics. I can be passionate about fashions and clothes. I can be passionate about restaurants. . . but I cannot be passionate about God. That’s a no-no.”
We know that scripture tells us otherwise. Our passion, our hearts, our souls, should be in the Lord. In the marketplace, we work first for the Lord. We work with honesty and integrity. We work in such a way that our bosses, clients, customers and co-workers will trust us because we have put our trust in God.
Consider these parallels found in Scripture:
Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This is perhaps the most popular verse in the Bible that speaks to the “heart and soul.” Jesus refers to this verse when He answers the question regarding the greatest commandment in the law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.”
When speaking to slaves in Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul says, “but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.” The New Living Translation says, “Try to please them (your masters) all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart” (Parenthesis added).
Ask yourself this: Do I work differently when management or a client is watching me work than when they are not watching me? The answer to that question should give you some insight as to whether or not you are truly working for the Lord.
Geoff Moore and the Distance also performed a song called “Heart and Soul”. The lyrics reflect the sentiments in the gospel story recorded in Mark 12 and Luke 21. Geoff sings, “I passed a church one time where a rich man filled the plate, but he gave just a piece of what he had. An an old woman . . . didn’t have much of anything, but the little she had you know she gave. She gave everything . . . be it great or small, a little love can break the wall between us.” At the end of the song, Moore sings, “I passed a hill one time. A man hung in silhouette as thunder rolled across the sky. That man he had no plan, (I) never can forget his words: ‘Not my will Lord but Thine’.”
We know that Jesus gave His heart and soul on Calvary. God calls us to give it “Heart and Soul,” no matter what we do. No matter if we’re in a great relationship with someone or if we are in a poor relationship. No matter if we’re in a job or a career we love or in a situation that is less than ideal.
Today’s Takeaway: Are you an employee or a manager working for someone else? Do you own a company, someone who is in business for yourself? Whatever your workplace or career situation is, remember who you are ultimately working for: God! You may receive wages from a company or from clients, but remember that it is God who ultimately provides us with everything. So, to God, in whatever you do, put heart and soul into your work.