A Theology of Work

…doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord,
and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free (Ephesians 6:6b-8)

Last week we explored this passage, like all of Scripture the layers are deep–depths that can only be scratched. Scholar John Phillips adds another layer we can glean much from:

The Lord is always present. We serve Him, not men. All service is on a higher plane for believers. We are in God’s will when we do ‘secular’ work, just as much as when we do ‘sacred’ work.

The Holy Spirit in Ephesians 6:6-7 abolishes the distinction between those of us in secular employment and those of us in full time service–the plumber as much as the preacher, the economist as much as the evangelist, the policeman as much as the pastor and the miner as much as the missionary.

All these vocations are in God’s will, and God’s will must be done from the heart. We can serve God out of a sense of discipline. Discipline says, ‘I have to’; it is motivation from a will that has been compelled. We can serve God out of a sense of duty. Duty says, ‘I ought to’; it is motivation from a mind that has been convinced. Or we can serve God out of a sense of devotion. Devotion says, ‘I want to’; it is motivation from a heart that has been captured.

God’s will for every employee is that he serve his human master with all his heart—with wholehearted commitment to his employer’s gain and advantage. His commitment should be like Joseph’s when he served Potipher. The Christian employee should give the kind of selfless service the slave girl gave to Naaman’s wife.

When we Christians serve our human masters, we are serving the One who loved us enough to die for us and who gave us an example of service. Mark 10:45 reads, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” That kind of service took Jesus all the way to Calvary.

We may never receive recognition, reward, promotion, or praise down here, but we will receive it in Heaven. The Lord’s payday is not at the end of the week; it is at the end of our lives. Sometimes God rewards us along the way, but these encouragements are only tokens of what is to come. Payday is at the judgement seat of Christ. Our efforts will seem worthwhile when we hear the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Keep going dear church, keep going… Heaven is soon, real soon!


A song for meditation