“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24

 

Paul’s admonishment to “work heartily as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23, ASV) has always been an important verse to me since my encounter with Jesus at Hume Lake Christian Camps (listen at the 10:00 mark). It was there that I remember offering up my whole self to the Lord: my education, relationships, resources, work, talents, desires and daily life. Paul does not shy away from emphasizing that if we do our work for the Lord, we will be rewarded (Colossians 3:24). I believe these rewards are not only heavenly but for our lives right now. Primarily I like to think that when we are glorifying God with our whole lives, we experience joy in this life now as a reward (Romans 12:12). Part of this daily joy is knowing that we are aligning our lives with how God would want us to live our lives here on earth. How can we know that we are living the way God intends for us in our work, our relationships and in our overall life?

Three people laughing while gathered around laptops at a coffeeshop tableAs I shared in my devotion yesterday, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery as I discerned my next call, which recently landed me at Carmel Presbyterian Church. One of the important resources I discovered along the way was TruMotivate, a new assessment that is based on over sixty years of research, development and real-life application for executive leaders, now available to the general public. One of the key insights I learned from TruMotivate is that for each person there are 27 motivational themes and that my top five included: Make an Impact, Be Central, Establish, Influence, Improve.

Without going into too much detail, I learned that God may have designed me to be someone who naturally wants to be a central person making a lasting impact on people, culture and organizations. As I reflected on my life, I can see these motivations in the work I’ve chosen (public school teaching, pastoring churches), the places and movements I volunteer in (homeless ministries, human trafficking issues) and how I relate to my family (leading my kids to Christ was one highlight of my parenting). In other words, I believe there are a cluster of core motivations that God has implanted in me that I naturally defer to and leverage for great effectiveness for the kingdom—and that also maximizes my joy in the Lord.

So when I now read Colossians 3:23-24 I surmise that there is a way to do work that not only pleases God but simultaneously brings me joy. I’m happiest and most effective when I’m not only focusing on my strengths and interests but leveraging my God-given core motivations for the benefit of others and for God’s glory.

As a follower of Christ, how would you describe your core motivation that God has seemed to put within you? What if part of “working for the Lord” is working how he has wired us? I think underneath the idea of core motivations from the developers of TruMotivate is that these motivations are actually wired into our DNA by God. That means these natural drives were gifts given to us by God: when centered around his kingdom and his glory, they can be used to both please God and bring ourselves joy as we serve others.

Something to Think About:

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” —Brené Brown

Something to Do:

As you think about a few moments in your life that you sensed the most fulfillment, aliveness and satisfaction, write down a few key words or phrases that summarize why you felt so positively connected to this experience. Then contact me with your reflections so I can give you some feedback and offer some prayer.

Prayer:

A blessing for readers of Life for Leaders:

May you get to know deeper this LORD who knew you before you were born and formed you in your mother’s womb and called you by name.

May you align yourself with Christ, knowing that by working for him you are experiencing great joy in your daily work and life.

May you hear the Spirit’s voice today as he leads you to give water to the thirsty, help to those in need and God’s unconditional love to all you encounter today.

Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online
commentary:
Doing Our Work as for the Lord (Colossians 3:17, 23)

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