September 13, 2021

Productive Work (part one of two)

Written by Boyd Bailey

Love well by listening well and then work to address genuine concerns. Love works!”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 13, 2021

So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s, because you know your reward is the Lord’s inheritance. You serve the Lord. Colossians 3:23-24, The Voice

Three middle schoolers and two high schoolers gathered with me at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to clear brush, move rotted fence posts and clean out a severely neglected green house. While munching on chicken biscuits and guzzling Gatorade they sorta listened as I took three minutes for a work orientation. “We are here to do our work for the Lord.”  How, you ask? I illustrated for them with the acronym L.O.R.D.: Love Well, Obey the Boss, Respect Everyone and Diligently Work. To enhance understanding and engagement I offered a $20 bonus to each teen, if at the end of our work, he could repeat back to me the four ways to work for the Lord. 

The Apostle Paul, in compelling fashion, describes our work role as servants of the Lord motivated to serve Him, as we look forward to receiving His reward. So allow me in part one of two, to take the first two of the four ways we can work for the Lord and unpack in more detail:

Love Well

The Creator of work gave His servants the greatest command: to love Him and to love others. Work reflective of a vibrant love for the Lord insists on excellence that points to the eternal. So, when someone experiences our best work they are able to see and feel a greater purpose for what we do. Working for the Lord can be exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. In a similar way, we love people in the process of our workday. We don’t charm or flatter others to get what we need, instead we show them love by serving them with what they need. A team member or business colleague who feels loved by us, trusts us, and trust is the ticket to our most productive work. A culture of trust at work has a much higher probability of outperforming its industry peers. Love well by listening well and then work to address genuine concerns. Love works! 

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

Obey The Boss

I explained to these young men that our work time was not play time and not a democracy. We had a job to do that I had thought out with much planning and collaboration with my wife Rita. So, I needed them to trust me and execute—for their safety (a lot of rusty nails, snakes and poison ivy lurking about) and for the economy of time we had to labor. Thankfully, without a squabble, our work together went without a hitch. We divided into teams of two, sweating, laughing and learning about one another. Purple team Isaac and Evan tackled the greenhouse full of stinky leaves, lifeless soil, idle trash and alien looking vegetation. What once incubated life, was dead on the vine, waiting for a resurrection and restoration. Removing the brush and rotted wood was necessary, but seeing the revitalization of the green house gave me vibrant vision!

Yes, they obeyed the boss—and I told them that on another day I wanted to hear their ideas on how we might work a better way. With a similar spirit of love—what work is Christ asking you to carry out? Maybe your boss is stubborn, but obey anyway and trust that on another day you can earn his trust to discuss a better way. Your most productive work is to work as unto the Lord Jesus! 

“Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too” (Hebrews 13:7, TLB).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me reflect your love and humble obedience in my work, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Application

What job do I need to complete so I can finish well for Christ’s sake?


Related Reading

Genesis 29:18; Psalm 138:8; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:13


Worship Resource

Housefires: Love Like This


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