Work Ethics

Read: Colossians 3:22–4:1
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (Colossians 3:23).

Every October, the office where I work becomes extremely quiet. The leaders are away attending annual meetings in another country. So those of us who are left behind say to each other with a wink, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

Jokes aside, when our bosses aren’t watching, do we continue to do our job well? The apostle Paul admonishes believers to work primarily for the Lord (Colossians 3:23). What does that entail? Paul says, “Obey your earthly masters in everything you do” and “try to please them all the time” (Colossians 3:22).

If your boss is nice and reasonable, perhaps it’s easier to do so. But what if he or she is capricious and unreasonable? Should we then see Colossians 3:22 as a piece of good advice, but impractical?

The first-century slaves to whom the epistle was first addressed were often seen as merely tools to be used. They weren’t given any so-called work-life balance or fair wage compensation. Yet Paul said in effect, “Do what you’re told, and work to the best of your ability.” Why? Because we are the Lord’s. Our first obligation is to honor Him by letting His lordship influence every area of our lives (Colossians 3:17, 23).

Paul went on to add that we must not obey begrudgingly; instead, we must “work willingly” (Colossians 3:23).

So, while we may not always like or agree with everything our bosses ask us to do, as long as it doesn’t contradict God’s Word we have an obligation to Christ to do our best. We can offer our suggestions. But at the end of the day, we must respect their authority.

Let’s carry out our duties to the best of our abilities for God’s glory!


How does your relationship with God affect the way you work? When does work become an idol and not something you’re doing for God’s glory?

Taken from “Our Daily Journey”