Dirty Jobs

Colossians 3:22–4:1
Work willingly at
whatever you do,
as though you were
working for the Lord
rather than for people

Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My
Cheese? stated in an article: “I believe research
may one day show that the only long-lasting
motivation will come from employees who bring it to
work in the form of God, spirituality, or something
else that causes them to rise to a higher purpose.”
Long before Dr. Johnson came to that conclusion, the
apostle Paul said that slaves (employees) and masters
(employers) should be motivated by a higher purpose in
their jobs—their relationship with Jesus.
In Colossians 3:22–4:1, Paul discussed three important
aspects of work—mandate, manner, and motivation.
Employees have the mandate to obey their bosses out
of reverence for Christ (3:22). The manner in which
they obey flows from a sincere heart and with a right
attitude. Paul wrote, “Work willingly at whatever you
do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than
for people” (v.23). Employees can overcome the lack of
motivation in their work and accept new responsibilities
without a negative reaction by focusing on their true
motivation: working for Jesus (v.24).
Paul also addressed the actions of employers. They
should treat their employees with fairness and justice as
they honor their Master in heaven (4:1; Philemon 16).
As followers of Jesus who work in the marketplace,
we’re called to rise to a higher purpose in our jobs. If we’re
employees, unless we know a task is sinful, we should do the job we were hired to
do—every task, every workday. Even if our jobs are dirty or seem to lack meaning,
we should perform them with excellence and the right attitude. If we’re employers,
we should create fair and just environments out of our reverence and love for Jesus.
In both roles, we’re missionaries on assignment—representing the Master.
—Marvin Williams

Read 1 Timothy 6:1-2
and Titus 2:9-10 to see
more characteristics
of a Christ-honoring

How would you rank
your attitude toward your
job, fellow employees,
and your employer?
If you did your work
for Jesus every day, what
difference would it make
in the output and quality
of your labor?