Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men.
Colossians 3:23
One of the things that continuously frustrates me is the lack of any sense of work ethic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered food at a restaurant, and it is hastily and sloppily prepared. I’ve even thought to myself, as I look at the server “would you have made it this way if you were eating it?”
When we think of the commandment “Thou shalt not steal,” we think of taking material things that don’t belong to us, like robbing a bank. Probably the thing that people steal the most now is time. Let’s say that a person is paid to work 8 hours a day at $20 per hour. If the person comes in ten minutes late, leaves ten minutes early, and spends 40 minutes a day (conservatively) on social media or texting, that is the equivalent of one hour, or $20 a day stolen from the boss. Add that up over the course of a year, that’s the equivalent of $100 a week, or over $5,000 per year.
What if the customer in the sandwich shop was Jesus? Would we be more careful making the sandwich? What if your boss was Jesus? Would we be more punctual, and give a bigger effort?
Today’s verse reminds us that whatever our task is, we should do our work as if we were working for Christ Himself. One of the great things about Orthodox Tradition is that we are supposed to have icons in every room of our home. Ideally, there should be an icon on our desk at work or on the wall of our office. This would serve as a reminder that Christ is our boss, we ultimately are working for Him.
A dear friend likes to tell people, when it comes to gossip, to not say anything that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of a newspaper. In the same manner, we should envision Christ standing in the middle of every conversation and being present at every meeting, discussion or even gossip session. Keeping Him at the center will improve our work ethic, the quality of our conversations and many other things.
We may work for a boss, but ultimately, we work for Christ. And as Saint Paul says in today’s verse to the Colossians, we are supposed to “work heartily” giving our best effort. No one would stand in front of Christ and say to Him, “I’m proud to be mediocre.” We know that God crowns effort, even if the effort doesn’t end up in “success.” So let us make our efforts excellent efforts and make our goal excellence and not mediocrity. Among the many problems in our world is mediocrity is the norm. Strive for excellence when it comes to effort and it will improve not only output, but outlook on things.
One final thought today—if we superimposed the face of Christ over the faces of everyone we meet today, we’d probably be a lot kinder in conversation, more likely to forgive, and we’d be a better friend. In whatever we are doing today, strive to keep Christ at the center.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Bless me in what I am going to do today (list some of the things that you will be doing today) Help me to give my best effort, to be honest, to be focused, to be efficient with my time, and to bring honor to You at work, in conversations and in whatever I do today. Amen.
Whatever work you do today, do it as if you were serving the Lord!