Encouragement in Colossians
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”Colossians 3:23–24
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Today marks the last day of our devotions on encouraging words found in Colossians, and we’re going to begin with a question: Who do you work for? Your answer may be the name of your school, your principal, or perhaps the LCMS. If you run especially against the grain, you may have even said that you work “for the man.” Yet in Colossians 3, we can learn from Paul that in our vocation as teachers, we’re working for someone far greater than any of these answers acknowledge.
Paul writes, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Not only are we working under the leadership of our principals, administrators, and church boards, but we are also working for God and His kingdom. So, as we Lutherans like to ask, what does this mean? First, it means that teaching and guiding the children of God is one of your God-given vocations. He has created you to serve Him and others, and teaching is a way in which you fulfill this call.
Whether you are rocking a new lesson or wondering if you will ever get through to a student, rest assured that God is at work in your work. Even the most mundane tasks that you check off of your list have purpose because they are a part of what you have been called to do. Working for the Lord means that God has given your work meaning.
Furthermore, He gives grace and forgiveness. In our vocations, we often feel the sting of our shortcomings and sins. This is why Martin Luther tells us in the Small Catechism to “consider [our] place in life” as we evaluate ourselves for Confession and Absolution (Confession, “Which are these?”). Though we hate to admit it, we know that there have been times in our vocation as teachers that we have procrastinated or been lazy and negligent. We may lose patience and become angry or fail to love a child as we should. In a vocation which takes so much passion, time, energy, and love, we are very aware of how often we have fallen short.
Yet God gives grace and forgiveness for every shortcoming. Paul writes in Romans 5:20 that no matter the sin, grace abounds even more. Because of what Christ has done, you can serve God and others freely and with the knowledge that He has given you this very vocation as a gift and an opportunity to love and serve as Christ has loved and served us. Go joyfully to your work, knowing that you are working for the Lord
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Catechism quotations are from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, copyright © 1986 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.