January 25, 2013
READ: Colossians 3:16-25
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (v.23).
The first thing you notice are the nets. They stretch tautly between buildings, hung to catch workers who might attempt to leap to their deaths. This is Foxconn, the behemoth factory in Shenzhen, China, where crowds of young Chinese people manufacture iPads, iPhones and computers for the world. As the nets attest, the job isn’t always fulfilling.
To be fair the suicide rate at Foxconn is lower than in the rest of China, and waves of peasants continue to leave the countryside for a chance to earn money to send back home. But silently performing the same task thousands of times each day can sometimes drain the life from the happiest soul.
These jobs may be better than anything in their villages, but they still don’t begin to tease out the talents that each worker has to offer. The assembly line is efficient, which keeps the price of computers low, but it’s not the way humans made in the image of God were meant to work.
What if you were a Chinese Christian trapped in one of these ‘dead end’ jobs? Perhaps you would pray and work for your conditions to improve as you took Paul’s words to heart. He told slaves in Colosse that they should work hard, for “the Master you are serving is Christ” (Colossians 3:24).
Why were they serving Christ? Paul declared that Jesus was the Creator (1:15-17), which means that Jesus is the One who begins the Bible by commanding us to “fill the earth and govern it” and “tend and watch over” it (Genesis 1:28, 2:15). Theologians call these commands the “cultural mandate”, for they express God’s desire that we serve others by developing the raw materials of creation.
Our tasks may seem insignificant, but as we do them for Jesus, we will receive His reward. —Mike Wittmer
Read Ephesians 6:5-8 to learn how we can do even menial jobs to the glory of God.
How do you serve others and contribute to society? Why is it essential to remember that our work is a sacred calling?