Your Real Boss: Finding Motivation at Work

by PastorErick | 2/27/17, 10:07 AM

[23] Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24] knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. - Colossians 3:23-24

Chances are at some time in your life you have had a job (s?) you really didn’t like (you may even have that now. Sorry.); I know I have…. many times. I could list off for you all my previous “careers” before becoming a Pastor (one must pay the bills while attending School after all), and probably find a decent complaint about each one.

As fun as it might be to share horror/funny stories from previous work experiences with you (maybe we can do that during our icebreaker tomorrow night), our text today calls us beyond that. I think our text gives Christians three motivations for working hard even in a really bad job situation:

1. Your job may really be a bad job-

The whole context of the passage (especially moving to the last verse of chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4) suggests that Paul is writing to someone in a difficult work environment. He/she is a bondservant, with what seems like an overbearing boss.

Upon hearing this first point you might wonder to yourself, how in the world is this motivating? Well, isn’t it helpful sometimes to know you're not alone? For someone to simply say, “Yes, I understand that your job is difficult and that your boss is kinda lame,” helps one feel at least a little bit like they’re understood. “Oh good, it’s not just me!” But validation alone isn’t helpful. We need higher motivation than that. So, Paul says….

2. Your boss is not really your boss-

Some of us have had really good bosses. Others of us…. not so much. Either way, every supervisor will probably let us down at some point or another. The only “Supervisor” that will always treat us well and always make the right decision is our Lord. Therefore it is extremelly important to remember that ultimately everything we do, from the mundane filing of paperwork to the exciting new start-up is done with Him as our boss.

There may be times when your supervisor is driving you half-crazy. You may be tempted to go off on him/her, or just walk out. In those times of temptation, seek to remind yourself that what you are doing is ultimately in service to the true Master.

That said, God is not a Master like any other. He does not motivate you with “earning”, but rather with reminders of what He’s “giving”. That’s the third motivation….

3. Your reward is already yours-

Vs. 24 of Colossians 3 has some interesting wording. We are told that we will receive “the inheritance as our reward.” Think with me here for a moment: Does one “earn” an inheritance? Not at all. An inheritance is simply something given and received. That’s it.

Add on top of this that the “bondservants” Paul was speaking to would have had no earthly right to any inheritance, and what you have is Paul reminding them of the gift they’ve already received through Christ. In other words, Paul is motivating them with the Gospel. He is saying, “You are not working to earn your reward, you’re working because you already possess your reward."

When you work from reward instead of for reward, well that changes everything.

I read a little while back in Tullian Tchvidjian’s book “One Way Love” something interesting about the company Netflix. Netflix, (at least at the time the book was written), had no official vacation policy. They let their employees take as much time off as they want, whenever they want, as long as the job is getting done. Steve Swasey, Netflix’s Vice President of Corporate Communication explained the policy, “Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers. People do their best work when they’re unencumbered. If you’re spending a lot of time accounting for the time you’re spending, that’s time you’re not innovating.”

Now what would you think would be the result of telling all these employees that they are free to take off on vacation anytime they want? Mass laziness? Constant struggles with people not wanting to do their job?

The story continues:

“Their policy, or lack thereof, has not resulted in the company’s going out of business, which many of us would fear it would. In fact, just the opposite. Freed from micromanaging bosses, their employees work even harder.”

This is ultimately what it is like to serve God as your supervisor: He has freed you, the inheritance of His grace is already yours, so go out today ready to work hard for the benefit of your neighbor (even if your boss is a pain).

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Erick



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