Summary: We express our worth through our work by working hard, obeying with the right motives, remembering the rewards and knowing the real Master.
Unless we see the worth of our work, we will never find fulfillment in doing it. Unless we see why we are doing what we are doing, we will never be happy with our jobs.
Let me clarify that our worth as persons is not dependent on our work. Even if our work vanishes, our worth does not vanish with it. Your company may have fired, retired, downsized, transferred, demoted or even promoted you. But, in God’s eyes, your worth as a person remains.
However, I agree with Zig Ziglar when he said, “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.” You are not your work. But you show who you are through your work. In short, we express our worth through our work.
That is the real worth of our work. Let us read Ephesians 6:5-9...
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him."
In the book of Ephesians, we see that God called us to live significant lives. And a significant life leads to significant relationships. One of those relationships is our work. You may think that these verses do not apply today because it talks about slave-master relationship. But “Paul talked to the slaves of that day the same way he would talk to the employees of our day. And what he said, essentially, was that the way we conduct ourselves at work speaks volumes more than all the hours we spend at church.”
Yet it seems believers have lost by default when it comes to the workplace. It affects our witness to those who have not accepted the Lord Jesus as Savior. Someone lamented, “How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?”
So, how do we express our significance or worth through our work? We have the acronym W-O-R-K.
“W” stands for “WORK hard.” Verse 6 says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” Obey means obey. We are to do what we are supposed to do and even beyond our job description. The word “sincerity” has not only the idea of a good intention but also an all-out devotion. “It suggests that the employee should not hold back from his best but should actually pour himself out liberally in honest service.” In verse 7 it says, “Serve wholeheartedly...” The word “wholeheartedly” means there’s no need to force you to do your job. You take the initiative. The NET Bible goes like this: “Obey with enthusiasm...” Just imagine. Paul was talking to slaves, either sold or captured in a war or born to slave parents. No one really wanted to be a slave. Thus they have to be compelled to serve. But still Paul commanded, “Serve eagerly and willingly.” I like how the Message translated it: “work with a smile on your face...” That is, serve cheerfully.
Ephesians gave us another reason why we work: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” We work not only to provide for the needs of our families. God blessed us with our work so that we “can help others who can’t work.” I said help those who can’t, not those who won’t work. Work enables us to serve others.
“O” stands for “OBEY with the right motives.” Someone said, “People do what is inspected, not what is expected.” So, when the boss is away, the employees play. Verse 6 says that is wrong: “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you...” We are to work hard “not only when [our superiors] are watching [us], because [we] want to gain their approval...” We are not to work hard for the sake of appearance. Of course, we need to impress our boss with our work. People tell me that a good impression is important for their promotion. I agree. But to impress our manager with our output is one thing, to pretend that we are working hard is another. You are not only fooling your supervisor. You are actually fooling yourself if you just pretend to work. That is actually hypocrisy.