Three men working on a building site were asked what they were doing. One said “I’m earning a living.” The second said “I’m filling this truck with dirt and dropping it over there.” The third said “I’m building a cathedral for the glory of God.” All three answered accurately, but their perceptions of their work varied widely.
Paul, talking about the Good News, said, “I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it” Colossians 1:23. He could have said, “I’m doing it because somebody’s got to do it.” But his insistence that he had been “appointed by God” showed his sense of calling. This was something that God had given him to do, so he was going to do it to “honor and please the Lord” Colossians 1:10 Paul’s focus was on doing his work in such a way that the Lord would be honored and pleased. Paul worked very hard at this as “Christ’s mighty power” worked in him. Colossians 1:29.
One might argue, “Well, that’s alright for an apostle. Of course he was ‘called’, but what about the rest of us? We just go to work to get the job done and earn a living!” Hardly, according to scripture. Paul, addressing slaves, said, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” Colossians 3:23. Even a slave’s work is significant because it can be done for God.
This understanding stimulates a man to look at his work through new eyes. He is doing something for the Lord – not just for himself, his family, his foreman, or his stockholders! Hopefully he derives some satisfaction from doing a good job, presumably his family is pleased they have food to eat, and his superiors smile approvingly when he helps the bottom line grow. But God also derives satisfaction from seeing a man work. This elevates his workday into a new realm – a man is presenting something as a sacrifice to the Lord. As he utilizes his time, energy, and abilities, he is glorifying God who made him.
To work at this higher level of purpose, a man must look for new resources. Human doggedness can keep a man at a mundane job, and the thought of Friday can get a man through a weary week. But what can motivate a man to see the simplest task as an act of worship? Only the power of God at work in his heart!