When Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Ferrari automobile marque, was asked which of his cars was the best one, he replied, “The next one I will produce.” Not only has this concept helped make Ferrari the frontline supercar company it is today, but the principle of working diligently in all we do is biblical as well.
The apostle Paul tells us in Colossians, “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” (3:23-24). Not only does this principle apply to us in our careers, but it is a command for us in our private lives as well.
The context of this passage takes root in Paul’s purpose in writing his letters to the church in Colossae. Several heresies were circulating among believers. Towards the end of his letter, after establishing Christ’s supremacy and expressing his labor for the church, Paul lays out rules for righteous living, which is where we find this verse. But this begs the question, "What it means to do something for the Lord? The answer, as discussed by theologian Dr. Grant Richison, lies in verse 24, “To do something for the Lord means we do it knowing something — that from the Lord we will receive the reward of the inheritance. So doing something for the Lord does not mean doing something to meet the Lord’s needs. It means doing something to receive the Lord’s reward.”
Furthermore, pastor Steve Fuller says that, “Serving the Lord at our job gives dignity to what we do” because “our boss is in Heaven.” Because of this, we should desire to “throw our hearts into our work.”
Pastor Ryan Strother further elevates the topic by stating we should not strive to work merely for man because there is ultimately no satisfaction or eternal reward. He states: “The problem in trying to please men is that it is 1) impossible and 2) people are fickle. . . But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), so if pleasing Him is our priority, we know that working heartily will [be] rewarded because His expectations will not change!”
The best way we can work for God is by having our perspective set on Him. Earlier in our chapter, Paul explains, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (v. 2). The most fruitful way to accomplish that is by having Christ as our identity.
To identify with someone often implies a sharing of mutual connections, understandings, and circumstances. However, to have someone or something as your identity is of far greater significance. To have someone as your identity often implies you are devoted to that person, who they are, their values, and what they have become. To have something as your identity insinuates we engross ourselves in it. We describe our characteristics as being ever-closer to what we identify with. Our identity is what we love. Our identity is who we are.
For Christians, our identity is Christ. Paul explains to us that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:9-10). As one author wrote, “God created humans to have unique characteristics and purpose. However, He designed us also to have a commonality of contentment with our lives through His will. We discover our true identity the more closely we are drawn to Him.”
Whether we are building supercars or engaging in simple work, we can be confident that we are doing the Lord’s work, and will therefore receive the Lord’s reward. He ultimately gives dignity to all we do, and no task is too small to be considered beneficial for His work.