Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 3

How Christians should act in difficult work situations

Colossians 3:22

Often in work situations, there is no opportunity for a Christian worker to speak about God. However, Paul has told Christians in everything to give honour to Christ (3:17). So, we ask how Christians in difficult work situations can give honour to Christ.

Paul gives his answer in his advice to slaves who had become Christians. Slaves had a much worse situation at work than anyone else. They had no liberty, no personal property, and no right to leave their masters. Generally, they received no wages, only their necessary food, and they often suffered cruel punishments.

However, Paul urged even those slaves to live in a manner that gave honour to God. So, Paul told them not to behave as most other slaves did. Usually, a slave only cared to work so that he could avoid punishment. While his master was watching him, he worked hard. At other times, he neglected his work, because he saw no reward for himself in it. He felt no sense of pride in his work; rather, his life seemed even to him to have no value.

When a person becomes a Christian, even that person’s attitudes change. Christians have a new reason and a new purpose for their lives: to give honour to God. They do not just work to avoid punishment now – instead, they work because they are serving God. They even do their work joyfully, because it is an honour and a pleasure to serve God (Psalm 84:10).

If a Christian is a slave, his master in this world chooses his tasks. However, that Christian obeys because his true master is Christ. His master in this world may not pay him as he deserves; but Christ will certainly reward him for his right and good attitudes (3:24).

Next part: Christian attitudes to work (Colossians 3:23)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.