You can put all your heart into your job and do your work for the Lord and still dread going to work.
Maybe your boss is a turd. Maybe she’s rude to you. Maybe she gave the job you deserved to her less-qualified friend. Or maybe one of your coworkers hurt your feelings or is difficult. Toxic work environments are usually less about toxins than they are about people.
I’m sure the slaves in Colossae to whom Paul was writing had good reasons to be offended by their masters. Who among us could say our workplace situation is worse than theirs? I can hear them now: “You don’t understand, my master beats me.” “He makes me work 18 hour days and pays me nothing.” “He took me away from my family and never let’s me see them.”
It’s almost like Paul could hear their objections before they even raised them because the last thing Paul does in this passage is remind them, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” (Col. 3:25). Paul was telling them to let go of their bitterness and their offenses and leave judgment to the Lord because as long as they held those offenses and bitterness, they would only make them miserable, as I’ve addressed in another post, The Poison We Drink.
The admonition though goes a little farther. Paul says God’s judgment will be carried out “without partiality.” This is for those who might be tempted to say, “It’s ok if I go into work late today because I’m a little depressed and the Lord will understand,” or “It’s ok if I don’t do my best today, because God will love me anyway.” “After all I’m working for the Lord. He knows my heart.” Paul is saying don’t expect you can do worse than your non-Christian coworker or boss and expect you will get a pass because you are a Christian.
So, to summarize the workplace fundamentals:
2. Do your work for the Lord; and
3. Leave judgment to the Lord.
Do these things, master these fundamentals, and you will be on your way to transforming your work experience and your workplace. GS