Every other week at The High Calling, our community editors share details of an upcoming theme, and they invite readers to write a post and link it up at The High Calling. The following week, our community editors feature of few of these articles on The High Calling’s home page, giving those featured writers an opportunity to work with an editor, and to have their content reach a broader (more than 125K subscribers and followers!) audience. This week, the theme is Working for Free, and here’s my submission (my submission is written as a devotional, but you can write in any style that feels right to you). To learn more about writing in community with The High Calling network, just click here.
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. Colossians 3:22-25, MSG
I can already hear you asking me, “Work for free? Why would I want to do that?” Or, maybe more importantly, you might be saying, “I can’t afford to work for free!”
I get it.
We’ve all got obligations. Mouths to feed, bills to pay, homes to maintain, and ministries to support. We need money coming in to meet the demands. We need fair compensation for an honest days’ labor. I understand. And, I’m not really suggesting we go to our bosses or clients and say, “Hey, you know what? I’ve been thinking, and I really don’t need you to pay me for the work I do around here. I’m good.”
I think there may actually be a couple of ways to work for free, and not getting paid is just one of them. This passage from Colossians 3 gives insight into a few different ways we can work for free:
- Work from the heart for your real Master, for God. When it comes right down to it, even the compensation we receive for the work we do is a gift from God. In fact, it’s God who provides us with the skills and talents necessary to complete a task. Ultimately, the money we make is a gift from God, to be used as a tool for serving God, putting food on the table, and blessing others. When we approach money with an open hand instead of a tight grip—not hoarding it, and, instead, being willing to share it when a need arises—it’s easier to remember for whom we’re really working.
- Be confident you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. It’s true what they say—you can’t take it with you. No matter how much treasure we store up here on earth, none of it will follow us to heaven. In God’s economy, faith, hope, and love are the currency of the day, and the greatest of these is love (I Corinthians 13). When we view earthly wealth from this perspective, our monetary compensation pales in comparison to what God has in store for us.
- Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. Doing good work really can be its own reward, making compensation the cherry on top. God wants us to take pride in the work we do, just as he did during the creation of the world, stepping back to view his work and declaring it all “good.” Satisfaction in a job well done provides a deep sense of fulfillment, and God delights in our good work, right along with us.
It’s true: we need money to make ends meet. But when we let money be the driving force behind the work we do, we often become a servant to our work and we forget the truth that God is our true Lord and Master. He has said he won’t put anything heavy or ill-fitting on us, and he’s uniquely designed us for the work we’ve been given. He takes joy when we find freedom in our work and offers freedom from simply working for a paycheck at the end of the day.
Questions for reflection:
- What kind of boss do you think God is? What does it mean to work from your heart?
- Do you remember the story in Luke, chapter 12 about the guy who had so much stuff he wanted to build a bigger barn? What’s your takeaway from that story?
- When was the last time you worked on a project and really felt proud with the results? What does it feel like when you consider God rejoicing over that project, along with you?
Dear God, thank you so much for giving me the skills and talents to do good work. Thank you for the work you’ve given me, and for the way you provide for me through that work. Help me to remember the importance of faith, hope, and love and to be a good steward of the earthly and heavenly treasures you provide. Amen.
Image modified from an original by Andrés Nieto Porres. Sourced via Flickr. Used with permission.
Charity Singleton Craig
Deidra – I love this. So much work done for the kingdom is done “for free,” and yet you are right. Rewards are coming, and payment isn’t always in the form of money.
Our work for the good of others always has reward. And there’s a sense in which we could never have enough money. At some point, we have to reconcile these two.
Such a great topic and well served! Thanks, Deidra.
This is the best post I’ve read all week. Thanks, Deidra. Tucking this one away for future reference.
Yes on all 3 points! My inheritance is coming. I will be paid in full. In fact, I have been paid for what I did not earn. I can never repay what I’ve been given, but I’m not asked to. Grace is a gift. A gift so big and huge and beyond borders that I want to give the gift of my best self and my best work back to the Gift Giver.