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Occupy Your Calling - Colossians 3:22 - 4:1
Posted by: Providence Reformed Church | more..
3,450+ views | 90+ clicks
The relationship between those who labor and those who control labor or the laborer have been problematic ever since sin entered the world. But the existence of sin and abuse does not relieve us from doing what honors Christ and acknowledges His lordship over all. This fact is highlighted in Colossians 22 - 4:1 where the Apostle Paul deals with this very practical and timely issue.

Verse 22 tells us what the duties of the laborer are. These duties are: obedience, diligence and loyalty. Whenever the Scriptures command us to be obedient to other humans, the obedience is always regulated by our first and primary obedience to the Lord Nevertheless, the duty of obedience is commanded even to those who are difficult. (I Peter 2:18 uses the word "froward" or crooked.) But mere formal obedience is not all that is required because even when the boss is not around, we are to be diligent and loyal or of a "single heart." Purposeful obstruction and inefficiency are not Christ honoring and even bring shame to the name of Christ that we bear.

Verse 23 ans 24 tell us what the theology of labor is. The underlying reasons for the obedience are because we labor not ultimately for other humans, but we labor as unto Christ Himself. The text says we are to labor "heartily" or literally, "out of our soul." So what is your heart's conviction regarding your calling? Legitimate labor, regardless of what it is, is not drudgery or unworthy of us because when we labor well we also do so in light of reward. Our labors are never pointless when we do so with the conviction that its significance is based upon who Christ is, not upon the size of our paycheck, or the opinions of others.

The first half of chapter 4, verse 1 tells us what the duties of capital are. Capital, or the control of labor also has duties. These duties are to pay justly, and to pay fairly. To pay justly means to pay rightly and what is due. This applies to both employees and suppliers. Do not withhold payment to either one and pay what is agreed. God is very angry with those who fail in this regard. (Lev. 19:13, Jer. 22:13) Paying what is fair, or as the text says, "equally" is more difficult to apply. We should not understand the term "equally" to mean that everyone should be payed the same regardless of skill, talents, experience or loyalty. In fact, this would be contradictory to what the term means. It means to pay in "proper proportion." The longtime loyal and skilled worker should be compensated more than the newly hired and inexperienced employee because the compensation is "in proper proportion."

The second half of verse 1 tells us what the theology of capital is. There are two reasons given for performing these duties. They are the knowledge of the nature of authority and the knowledge of accountability. Everyone who has the ability, authority and resources to employ others is in that place because of God's grace. His business is a stewardship. (I Sam. 2:7, 8) And because it is a stewardship, an accounting is going to come due. Even the master of slaves is himself under the heavenly Master and should therefore treat those under him in anticipation of having to answer the Lord of All.

So in whatever condition you find yourself, whether capital or labor, occupy your calling to the glory of Christ your Master.

All For Him,

Doug Schlegel
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