“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:22-24 (NIV)
These words are Paul’s exhortation to the church in Colossae to live the new life in Christ and to be a good spiritual example to those around them in their conduct. In the area of work, the relationship between the master and the servant is of paramount importance, and the servant is to obey the master in the flesh in all things. (v.22)
(1) The object of service
The object of a servant’s ministry is his master. In the modern workplace most people work in a company and have their own bosses, sometimes more than one. The same is true in the mission field where everyone has at least one manager who is responsible for the missionary. Paul exhorts Christians to obey them in all things. But he also made a very important statement, which was, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (v. 24) So the true object of service is the Lord Jesus Christ, not the earthly master.
(2) The attitude of service
The right attitude in service is to be careful and self-disciplined. Each of us has a stewardship responsibility from God to manage all that we and the master have on earth. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Let every man serve one another according to the gifts he has received, as good stewards of the gifts of God.” Each Christian should remember to be a good and faithful steward of God as he keeps his or her office.
We are also reminded to have this attitude that whatever we do, work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. One version (NASB) puts it as “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” We do get some rewards by working for men – such as a monetary reward, promotion, and recognition. However, the biggest reward is the inheritance from the Lord. Hallelujah!
(3) To please men or to please God?
This is something that Christians are often troubled by. The truth is that we cannot please everyone and please God. Our ultimate goal should not be to please people, but God. Paul says very clearly in Galatians 1:10, “If I remain pleasing to men, I am no longer a servant of Christ.”
Christians are servants of Christ who are prudent and self-disciplined, faithful to the Lord and enduring suffering to live a good testimony for the Lord. Through this, they have more opportunities to spread the gospel of Jesus so that more people can be saved into the kingdom. Let us therefore serve our Lord assiduously and prudently.
“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” – 2 Tim 4:5
By brother Yue Fah Yong