Labor Day is always bittersweet, a last hurrah before school and work begin in earnest. As you stow away the beach towels and say goodbye to summer — do you find yourself, like me, dreading the “daily grind”?
I find Colossians 3, Paul’s chapter on our new life in Christ, to be a great attitude adjuster. It lifts my mind from drudgery, reminds me that I can choose my attitude and be at peace. And when work is hard, it never fails to get me moving forward in joy. For this Labor Day and the year ahead, I offer you some wisdom from St. Paul:
“Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23).
Don’t miss that “whatever.” It covers everything you say and do. You can’t always control your situation–your job or lack thereof, your boss, your health, the difficulty of the task ahead–but you can control the way you do it.
So whatever you do, Paul says, “work heartily.” Another translation says “work at it with all your heart.” I love that. It’s hard to work with all our heart at something we hate or fear or find boring, but what Paul says next makes that possible: “as serving the Lord and not men.” In other words, do it as though Jesus himself–and not your boss or someone else–asked you to do it.
Maybe I can’t stand the thought of facing another demanding customer today, or I can’t bring myself to mop another floor, or I dread writing another report that my boss won’t use anyway — but I can do any of those things for Jesus. We are in good hands with him, and he will make even drudgery or painful toil work in our lives for good. There is value in doing work humbly and well, whether we like it or not, whether it is recognized on earth or not. We serve the Lord, and will be rewarded by him for our faithful service.