When we know business is ordained by God, and that most jobs can be used to serve the Lord in, and that diligence is the first word to describe how God conducts Himself with His business, we should ask the question how can I be diligent in business and not slothful? Our Father provides us with wisdom in regards to being diligent at work, and with wisdom being the principal thing that it is, it is up to us to walk after the Spirit, as the sons and daughters of God, to be the living manifestation of this godly diligence at our specific job.
Our Father says this,
““Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24)
There are a few simple instructions of proving diligence at work. First of all, they relate and correspond to “obey in all things your masters according to the flesh”. The son and daughter of God do this knowing their “Master in heaven” is instructing them to do so. In fact, when you “obey in all things your masters according to the flesh” it is being done “to the Lord”. Therefore, the principle of diligence is obedience, but what sets it apart is the kind of obedience our Father is looking for. The kind of obedience is: “in all things”, “not with eyeservice”, “in singleness of heart”, “heartily”, in the knowledge of “the reward of the inheritance”.
Obedience – In All Things
It is presumed and implied that when our Heavenly Father says to “obey” our masters according to the flesh “in all things” that He doesn’t mean, even if they ask us to sin. We are to never participate in sin and unrighteousness; nevertheless, when it comes to everything else we are to “obey in all things”. All too often we cut corners or do not carry out what is asked of us at our jobs. Yet, godly diligence as taught by our Father would obey in all things. As sons and daughters in the secular workforce, we ought to comply and yield to the commands and instructions of our “masters”. Notice the absence of any conditions. In other words, our Father doesn’t say, “obey in all things, if your master is kind and treats you with respect.”
The reason for this is because we are to “obey” with a different set of eyes, the eyes of our understanding, looking at things eternal. We “obey in all things our masters according to the flesh” “as to the Lord”. We are to perceive our obedience toward our earthly employer, supervisor, boss, etc as if God was our supervisor and boss. With this understanding written on our enlarged hearts, we can have joy no matter what our job is or who s our boss is – because we “serve the Lord Christ”.
Obedience – Not with Eyeservice
Eyeservice is obeying and being diligent only when we are being watched by our master – our superior. The opposite of such inconsistent obedience is what Paul explains to Titus,
“Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:9-10 )
The way our Father teaches us about “obeying” in business is if we only serve when eyes are on us we end up “purloining”; that is, we take the time from our “masters” and we take wages from our “masters” for service not rendered, without their knowledge. Therefore, we ought to be faithful and “shew all good fidelity”, thus “please them well in all things”. If you have ever been a superior or master, whether at work or at home as a parent this concept isn’t foreign. You understand and appreciate when your child or employee utilizes the time allotted to serve in all things of the job or what is requested. In Titus, we see the nature of the obedience when something is asked of us, we do not “answer again”; that is, dispute, argue against, or contradict. This also means that we are not to turn around and gainsay with our coworkers and grudgingly speak against what was asked. This kind of disobedience is hypocritical and is described by our Father as “menpleasers”. We are not to say, “yes” to our superior, supposedly pleasing him/her, then serve only when they are watching. We are not to “backbite” toward fellow coworkers to, in turn, please them. The layers of the menpleasing concepts can run deep. None of these are godly, nor how Christ labors for and with His Father, nor should be how we work as we learn godliness. Instead, we should “shew all good fidelity”, “not answer again”, “not purloin”, and to “please them well in all things”.
Obedience – Singleness of Heart
This description by our Father regarding the nature of our heart when it comes to our “obeying all things your masters according to the flesh” contrasts that of obeying as a “menpleaser”. Part of being a “menpleaser” is constantly altering what they think or do base upon the audience. They do one thing and say one thing in front of one and do another thing and say another in front of another for the sake of pleasing them. Singleness of heart is diligent and faithful to obey all the time in all things because of our reverence of and to God. Sons and daughters of God are to “fear God”. They understand even when their “master” isn’t watching their “Master in heaven” is. Although they may not fear their master according to the flesh, they do the one “in heaven”. The son and daughter of God remain stedfast in their diligence even if it is frowned upon.
Obedience – Heartily
In all things we are to obey and to do it heartily; that is, with vigor, zeal, eagerness, and with sincerity. The reason for obeying in all things your masters according to the flesh “heartily” or from the heart is because it is “as to the Lord”. There is an obvious distinction between your “master according to the flesh” and your “Master in heaven” not only in character but also in distance, nevertheless “in whatsoever we do” and are asked to do, we are to do it “as to the Lord”; thus, do it “heartily”. We are to “heartily” work “as to the Lord” and “not unto men” although, most likely, when we do we will “please them well in all things”.
Obedience – The Reward of the Inheritance
Our “masters according to the flesh” will reap the profit and benefit of godliness effectually working in you. At times, they may reward you in words, gifts, a raise, in honor, etc; however, at times and many times, they will not provide the exact reward for your faithfulness and diligence. Although this is the case our “Master in heaven” will reward you accordingly. Therefore, when you think you’re not receiving the measure of your obedience, remember: 1) you are still getting paid, and 2) more importantly, to use the eyes of your understanding of the eternal reward that our “Master in heaven” will give which is greater than some mere mortal reward that will perish and pass away in this life.
May these principles of wisdom provide you the godliness your obedience ought to proceed with at work, as well as, the diligence that all you do ought to be seasoned with. I pray that as these things begin to dwell in you, your pre-work routine would be one of praying these things and work them together in your mind regarding your specific and unique work at your job, as well as, that they would fill your mind throughout your day as you encounter things contrary to our Father’s mind.
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher