The Pursuit of Work Through Redemption (Side B)
by Jonathan Haefs
Sin infected everything. Jesus redeems everything…including our work.
He restores the purpose that vocation originally had in creation, namely, worship. We can worship through our work! How?
Yesterday, in Ephesians 6:5-8 we saw that worshipping through our work begins by working for God (details here). But, this is not all Ephesians 6 has to say about the manner in which we approach our vocations. There is a second important truth for us to see within these verses…
We worship in our jobs by doing our work because we get God!
We do our work for God, but we also do our work because we get God! This frees our work from the curse of Genesis 3. No longer does our work feel like a waste…on the contrary…it becomes an infinitely valuable witness to the world! To see this, look again at Ephesians 6:7-8…
“[We render] service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this HE WILL RECEIVE BACK from the Lord…”
A parallel passage in Colossians further shows us what Paul means…
Colossians 3:24, “…from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”
Paul is speaking directly to slaves who receive no pay for their work and basically says, “Does your work feel pointless? Meaningless? Futile? You’re earthly master is not the one you need to look to for a reward. The Lord is who you work for and it is from him that you will be rewarded! He has an inheritance for you worth more than anything anyone on this earth could ever pay!”
What is that reward? It is nothing less than God HIMSELF! The reward of heaven IS GOD!
Jesus died so that we might have this reward…the treasure of knowing God the father through him! The ultimate reward awaiting us is being in the presence of God…in the presence of Jesus! There is nothing greater (Psalm 16:11)! Paul says that explicitly in Philippians 3:8 that nothing compares to the value of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord!
“…I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of KNOWING CHRIST JESUS my Lord.”
Nothing compares with knowing Jesus and the promise of Revelation 22:4 is that we will know his direct presence!
“They will SEE his face…”
Does your work feel meaningless…like a waste? When we do our work for God, not a moment is wasted, it all has eternal meaning because through it you are investing in the eternal reward of knowing Christ!
By doing our work for him, we come to know him more, his character, his heart… his selfless love for people… we give him glory for our “successes” and he sustains us through our “failures.”
We find more and more joy in him knowing that he is the reward that won’t pass away. Every dime I ever make will burn… but the depths at which I know Christ will only be dug deeper for all eternity! You are working to know more of Jesus!
When knowing Christ more is the reward of your work… then no job is pointless! And I can work with joy! Paul says this to slaves! God is your reward! Your work is not a waste! It is a witness! Working with joy because you get God shows the world that he is of ultimate value! Jesus is the ultimate reward! Your work becomes a witness to the world of the supreme value of Jesus! Paul makes this clear in Titus 2:10…
“…[do your work] showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
When we do work for God and his glory… and we do our work because we get God… we are adorning the Gospel! We are showing it to be true! We are witnessing to the truth that ultimate joy and satisfaction is found in Jesus… not in any glory form a job, or reward from a job.
Now we can open our mouths with the Gospel at Work. We can talk to those around us who treat work like it is everything… tell them why our life is not completely invested in climbing the corporate ladder as fast as I can at the expense of anyone and everyone around me…because Jesus set me free from that. I don’t work for me… I work for him.
We can talk to those around us who treat work like it is nothing… it’s just a pointless, necessary evil to live. We can tell them who we find eternal joy and meaning through our work…because, through our work we are coming to know Jesus more and more… and that reward is eternal.
We can speak the Gospel at work, because the Gospel has transformed the way we work! It’s a new life at work… where we do our work for Jesus, and we do our work because we get Jesus!
*I’m leaving the country to do pastor training in Haiti. This blog series will continue upon my return in about two weeks. We will explore what work looks like in eternity and more of the practical implications for our jobs right now. Please keep myself and the Haiti team in your prayers.