“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, NIV
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. Although the whole church calendar ultimately leads us to the joy of Easter morning, we focus on it most during this part of the year. For the next forty days, Christians around the world will spend time reflecting on Christ’s journey to the cross. Many of them will make sacrifices designed to draw them closer to God. Some will give up a favorite food or a particular behavior, trusting in God to help them through any temptations they face along the way.
I’m a lifelong Baptist and have never done “the Lent thing.” My church celebrates various seasons of the liturgical calendar, but not to the extent that many other congregations do. It’s still kind of new to me. I asked some friends what they were giving up for Lent, and was intrigued that some of them choose to focus on positive additions to their lives instead of doing away with something. As one said, “I don't think it's about giving up for giving up's sake. I think it's about doing that which brings you closer to the love of God.” Another friend suggested writing something every day, a devotion or meditation. I had been thinking about doing some writing, so I liked that idea. I’m no biblical scholar, but I wanted to do something tying scripture or inspirational writings to my life and work (and whatever else I might think of).
So here we are, Day 1. I don’t promise to write every single day, but we’ll see what happens.
I chose the verse at the top from http://www.sandersweb.net/bible/verse.php, a site that came up in my search for a “random Bible verse.” The site says that they use a preselected list of verses, but you get a random selection from those choices. In light of my desire to write about work, I thought it was appropriate. However, I don’t want to try and explain Paul’s (or anyone else’s) theology; my only goal is to share some reflections on my thoughts about the verses or writings I find. So, back to Colossians.
There are days when I don’t feel like giving my all at work, or at home, or in the church choir, or when I’m shopping at Walmart. But this verse tells us that we should work wholeheartedly at WHATEVER we’re doing. Wow. That’s not easy, is it? Certainly not for me. But as a Christian, it’s what I should be doing. I’m not working for my own glory and recognition. I’m not working to make my boss happy, although she probably appreciates it if I work hard. No, I’m supposed to work at whatever task is at hand “as working for the Lord.” If you ask me, that sets the bar pretty high.
But keep reading. The incentive for me to work hard and serve Christ is mighty compelling. An inheritance? That sounds good. “An inheritance from the Lord as a reward”? I can’t think of anything I’d rather receive when my shift on this earth is over.
© Laura M. Botts, 2012