Written by Arch Hoercher
Have you ever been asked, “What do you do for a living? Who do you work for?” I have been asked those questions many times and most often answer – I am a pharmacist; I work for the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis. I have answered these questions truthfully and in most cases no other questions are asked. But, as a Christian, did I really answer the questions truthfully or as I should have answered?
Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”.
So, as a Christian, I should have answered: “By the grace of a merciful and loving God, I am a pharmacist by trade. I work in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ at the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis.” I would bet that this response would generate more questions or the person asking would be running for the hills or at the least I would be receiving some very odd looks.
Let’s take a deeper look at this scripture. “Whatever you do” some translations use the term “in everything that you do”. There is no division or distinction between the spiritual or the secular in this statement. “Whatever” means whatever and “everything” means everything. It refers to your private life and your secular life and your spiritual life – “whatever you do”. In the words that you use and in the actions or deeds that you perform, they should be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus”. So what does it mean to do our work “in the name of the Lord Jesus”? First we must recognize that we represent Jesus in the workplace or at school or anywhere else that we may be. If we are Christ-followers, how we treat others and how diligently and faithfully we do our work (or our school work) reflects on our Lord. How well do our actions fit with who He is? Second, working in “Jesus’ name” implies that we live recognizing that He is our master, our boss, the one to whom we are ultimately accountable. This leads into Paul’s reminder that we work for the Lord and not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23 – “as done for the Lord and not for your masters”.) Yes, we most likely have horizontal accountability on the job or at school, but the diligence we bring to our work comes from our recognition that, in the end, God is our judge.
Some of us might display a verse of scripture at or desk or on our lockers or display a Christian bumper sticker. These types of gestures can be meaningful, but in and of themselves they do not constitute a Christ-centered work-life. We should begin each day by imagining what our daily goals would be if God were the owner of our workplace. With this understanding of Paul’s injunction, we would do all the day’s work in pursuit of goals that honor God. The apostle’s point is that in God’s kingdom, our work and prayer are integrated activities. We tend to see them as two separate activities that need to be balanced. But they are two aspects of the same activity – namely, working to accomplish what God wants accomplished in fellowship with other people and with God.
This scripture refers to the main object of all life, and that is living a Godly life. In our workplace, in our schools, at social events and even at church. The fist principle of all – to live a Godly life. We live, not for our own happiness or perfection, not even for the good of our fellow-man, but for the glory of God – the carrying out of His will. The principle of a Christian life is that everything is done “in the name of Christ” which means that we are conformed to His image. Being His representative we should, at all times, look up to God our Father with thanksgiving for all that Jesus Christ has done for us.
We should do ALL things (this includes our work and even our entertainment and social life) in the name of the Lord Jesus. We should do it all because he requires and commands it, and with a desire to honor Him. His authority should be the warrant; His glory the aim of all our actions and words. We are to engage in every duty, not only in the name of Christ, but with thankfulness for strength and reason; for the privilege of acting so that we may honor Him; and with a grateful remembrance of the mercy of God that gave us such a Savior to be an example and guide.
So, let me ask the question again. Who do you work for?