“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”
Explanation and Commentary of Colossians 3:23
The context is the case of bondservants serving their earthly masters. In the Roman world of the first century, bondservants were without rights or justice. For the sake of the Lord, they are called to go about their work with all their heart. It is an issue of character and of the fear of God. It is not ultimately the master for which they labor, but God himself.
If this is the way bondservants are supposed to think about the work they do, how much more for those of us experiencing earthly freedom and independence. Whether it is working for a boss, clients, customers, or even the members of our family in our own home, the very act of working is itself an act of worship to the Lord. God created us in his image and called us, among other things, to be productive. This glorifies God, especially when we do it for his sake to the best of our abilities. He is going to come back and demand an account of our service (Ro 14:12).
God intends not only that we would create value on the earth as his delegates through our work, but that we would also be a concretization of himself and his Gospel by the way we conduct ourselves in the world before nonbelievers.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Colossians 3:23
#1 “Whatever you do,”
Here is the principle that there is nothing that we could do that we should not do for the glory of God. If there is any activity, whether some sort of rest and relaxation, service to the community or the church, or our vocational work, it should all be done for God’s sake.
#2 “work at it with all your heart,”
You have heard that, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right. This is a godly principle. Christians should seek to live a life where not one minute or an ounce of energy is wasted.
#3 “as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
keeping God and his ways in mind as the prime motivation for the work that we do will help us to do our work “as working for the Lord.“ It is not that we are not to take our human masters seriously, meaning those in authority over us, but that we see their authority as coming from God, our ultimate authority. This affords even the lowliest galley slave the dignity of an image-bearing human being. Understanding what it means to be a man or a woman created in the image of God will enable one to do all his or her hard work for the glory of God.
Bible Study on Colossians 3:23
Expert Overview of Colossians
Biblical Translations of Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.