GOD, AND NOT OF MEN
reads, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not
unto men." This is a very interesting Scripture and is loaded with
many practical applications to Christian living. Let us consider this.
The immediate context involves instructions
for servants in relation to their masters (teachings much needed back then,
as a great bulk of the early church were people bound by imposed servitude).
Not with a radical upheaval and convulsion in society, but like leaven
silently, slowly and surely working from within, Christianity finally did
away with slavery. Masters were to treat their servants in a manner "just
and equal" (Colossians 4:1). Equality, and now being brothers in Christ,
left no room for the severe master/servant relationship (and actually severed
it). The converted runaway slave, Onesimus, now a new Christian, was to
be received by his Christian master as a brother (Philemon, verse 16),
possibly with the implication and a strong hint that he should be set free
(Phi-lemon, verse 21). We thank the Lord that slavery is not part of our
modern world, but most of us still fall under the category of servants—"hired
servants" (Mark 1:20). We work for someone else, and these principles that
Paul lays out here still apply to us today.
The first thing that gets our attention that
falls under the sweeping scope of "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as
to the Lord, and not unto men" has to do with the kind of service rendered
as a servant. Paul says, "Not with eyeservice…but in singleness of heart,
fearing God" (Colossians 3:22). In the parallel epistle of Ephesians written
at the same time as Colossians, Paul says, "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;
but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians
6:6). In other words Paul is saying that we should be on the job doing
our work, not just when the boss is looking, but all of the time. Put in
a good days work, doing it "heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men."
Although you may think you are not being paid and treated as you should
be now, remember there is a "payday" in the sky by and by (Ephesians 6:7,8;
Colossians 3:24,25). Do your work "as to the Lord," showing the world what
Christianity is all about, and the Lord will pay you for it in eternity.
Still considering this Scripture from the immediate
context of employment, another important truth impacts us as we apply the
principle of "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not
unto men." This verse implies and teaches that our employment must be compatible
with Christianity. If we are called upon to do something wrong or questionable,
it can never be right ("whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,
and not unto men"). We cannot twist the rules and "do it heartily, as to
the Lord, and not unto men." We must ever do that which is right. In sales,
we cannot lie and misrepresent a product and "do it heartily, as unto the
Lord, and not unto men." We cannot stock shelves and check out booze in
a store (even a grocery store), and "do it heartily, as unto the Lord."
From the viewpoint of a New Testament Christian, there are many, many questionable
things in our society today (from its highest echelons to the lowest).
But if we are conscientious, and really want to be right with the Lord
and please Him, Colossians 3:23 will ever be before our minds. There should
never be a conflict with the principle laid down here. If so, we should
consider a career change. We are servants of God, and not of men.