Dr. Randy Carlson
Paul says in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as working for the Lord and not for man since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” That’s a very interesting and powerful verse, so let’s look at it closely.
I was at Chick-Fil-A at lunchtime, and the young guy behind the counter was so outgoing. He asked, “How are you, sir?” and then, “How’s your day?” It wasn’t phony; he sincerely wanted to know.
After I had my lunch, I went back to the counter, and I asked, “What makes you so happy?” He said, “I’m happy today, because I am so busy, and I hate being bored.” You could see he wanted to make his life have purpose.
So, when Paul says, “Whatever you do …” it means simply – whatever you do! If you’re on the phone, that’s what God has given you to do. If you’re at home raising children, if you’re educating the next generation or driving a school bus, if you’re mopping floors, or if you’re serving in a position of leadership – whatever you do, Paul says, do it with all of your heart.
Think about some of the terms we use like a whole-hearted person, and a half-hearted person. What about, my heart isn’t in it? If we reach a place where our hearts aren’t in it, that’s a time to really stop and analyze what’s going on, because it probably has less to do with the work and has more to do with our hearts.
When Gallup does a survey and finds 13% percent is the total number of people that are engaged at work, that’s a sad number. We all have days when we’re not engaged, but God’s intention for us is – whatever we do, that we do it with our whole heart.
Paul goes onto say in this scripture … “Not working for man but working for the Lord.” That is a mindset. Our boss is not the president or the board of the company we work for. As believers in Jesus Christ, someday we’re going to stand before him and be accountable for what we did, and didn’t do, with our time. It’s a decision that we make to have a mindset that says “I’m doing this work unto the Lord.”
And the fourth thing Paul shares is a promise: “As a result of doing this, you will receive an inheritance from the Lord.” The greatest retirement plan is to know our inheritance is coming from God because of what we’re doing.
I hope you take time to apply this powerful verse to whatever you’re doing today.
Dr. Randy Carlson
If you look at the Book of Ephesians and the Book of Colossians, the first half of both of those books have to do with who we are in Christ, our position in Christ and about the power of Christ in the church. The second half of both of those books are about the practical way in which we live.
Paul says in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as working for the Lord and not for man since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
Here are six things that will help us find lasting purpose in our job and in the work that we do:
- See people first and projects second.
I have to admit, I struggle with that. I’m a project-oriented guy and it’s more difficult for me to put people first. But Jesus always put people before His projects. When he was traveling, it was a Samaritan woman that caused Him to stop. The disciples were asking, “Why are you stopping? Let’s get out of Samaria.” He stopped and invested into her life.
Make others’ lives better because of what you do through your work.
Is someone’s life getting stronger as a result of what you’ve done? Maybe you own a business where you make repairs in someone’s home, or you’re a stay-at-home parent, and you’re working with your kids at home. If you can say I made people’s lives better today, that’s worthwhile, right?
- Mentor others.
Jesus had disciples He mentored for three years. How would you like to be mentored by Jesus for three years, to have Him speaking every day into your life? We only get little glimpses of verses here and there of what went on. Think about all the things that we never heard about that Jesus spoke in those private moments in the lives of those men. There are many examples of mentoring others in the Bible, like Paul to Timothy, and Naomi to Ruth.
To those of you who have had some experience, pinpoint where you could be mentoring other people.
- Be responsible for your work but leave the results to God.
That’s a tough one. In our business world, we focus on results, which obviously is important, because if we don’t have a target, we can get lost, right? But if I can only be responsible for my work and not the results, then the numbers, while they’re important to measure for business, are not important to God. God determines the numbers. It’s not the size of this ministry that makes the difference. It’s the effectiveness of this ministry in the lives of people that makes a difference, because, ultimately, it’s going be God, who determines who is will be reached.
- Have daily goals.
We need the big goals, but we also need daily goals. What am I going to do today? What am I going to do in the next hour? What am I going to do before I leave today that is going to make a difference? Who will I touch? Strive to be as effective, to be as professional and to be as godly as you can with that next thing, and it adds up. That becomes a cumulative effect into the lives of people.
- Celebrate small wins.
We need to celebrate more often. The Bible says, “laughter and happiness doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). When we celebrate, dopamine levels in our brains go up. Dopamine functions as neurotransmitters that help our brain to work and keep us in healthy balance. When you’re on the phone with someone, celebrate what God is doing in your life.
So, whatever you do – do it as unto the Lord, because ultimately that’s where our inheritance is.
Dr. Randy Carlson
Joseph’s life, told in Genesis, is a reminder that life can be really tough and can make no sense at times. Yet, he chose to be intentional, and even had the insight to see that what his brothers had meant for evil and harm to him, God intended for good to save many people.
Joseph was dropped into the pit, taken into captivity, mistreated, wrongfully accused, put into prison, neglected and left there to die. He had every reason to think life made no sense. Joseph was intentional, even when life made no sense. When he was in prison, he was very intentional with his life. After many long and difficult opportunities, the tables turned and his brothers who had sold him into slavery came to him to ask for help.
With his brothers standing in front of him and fearful for their lives, Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?” (Note that powerful statement.) He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” That’s Intentional Living!
This is the point when many people reject God because it just doesn’t make any sense. But Joseph was intentional in five ways that I think are important for us to consider.
- Don’t get stuck
Joseph made the decision of how he was going to live his life. He chose to trust God in the pit, in front of Potiphar’s wife and while in jail. No matter what he faced, he refused to become stuck.
- Honor your family, even if they don’t honor you
His brothers kicked Joseph squarely in the teeth, and he honored them. He had every reason to follow the principles of boundaries. He could have said, “I’m putting boundaries in place, and you go starve where you are.” Yet, he opened his heart and his life and cared for them.
In our family relationships, it’s easy sometimes to write people off as the people who have hurt us. We need to have boundaries in place, but we need to still have a sense of honor, care and concern for people, including those who may have wronged us.
Forgiveness is hard to do when we’ve been in stuck moments in life where it’s easy for us to blame others for things that have happened. But Joseph was willing to truly forgive.
- Accept there is a bigger plan at work in your life
We often see life through little lenses, and if we study scripture, we can understand we are part of something much bigger. God loves us, but He has a plan in place that I’m a piece of and you’re a piece of. As we understand we are playing a part God has for us, that allows us to get above it, and not see everything through our own lens.
The Bible says, “For all things work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Joseph had good things come out of this, because he was called according to God’s purpose. He was right in the place where God wanted him to be. Many times, bad things happen to us, because we have messed up.
When life makes no sense, you have to ask the question, “Does it make no sense because I put myself here, or does God have something bigger and better going on than I don’t quite understand? Am I in the middle of His purpose?” When we’re in the middle of God’s purpose, then life can start to make sense even when it does not on the outside.
Joseph not only forgave his brothers, but then he acted. He took care of his brothers and their families. That’s taking what we say we believe and acting on it every day.
Whatever you are going through, we love you and want the best for you. The decisions you make are going to make a difference. What you do next will impact what happens next. That’s why there is so much power in doing the next right one thing. I pray you will choose to be obedient to what scripture teaches and submit to the fact that God may have something going on that is bigger than you can imagine.
By Dr. Randy Carlson
Friendships are enriching experiences, but they can also cause pain. Assessing the health of your friendships will enable you to improve the relationships you already have, and help you with your choice of friends in the future.
Proverbs 17:17 describes a true friend as “always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (NLT) Healthy friends:
- Love and influence each other – without controlling each other.
- They are honest with each other – without fear of rejection.
- Respect each other enough to speak the truth – and hold each other accountable.
- Don’t manipulate or play mind games to get their own way.
- Gain joy from their relationship.
- Have shared values.
In friendships that are not healthy, you’re not sure if you can trust the other person, so you hold back on what you say. You also feel you’ll be judged, or that you’ll easily offend the person.
Right now, specific people in your life should be coming to mind that fit both healthy and unhealthy categories. It’s also possible that you’re seeing, perhaps for the very first time, that you may be the unhealthy person in a friendship because of how you treat or think about the other person.
One Thing you can do today to further examine and improve your friendships is to make a list your five closest friends. Then ask yourself:
- “Does this relationship exhibit the characteristics of a healthy friendship?”
- “What would make the relationship better?”
- “What could you say to your friend to truly express hoe you feel?”
Write down your answers for each friend – then pray, plan how you will respond to each person, and take action. The quality of your relationships will be better for it.
Taken from The Power of One Thing, © 2009 by Dr. Randy Carlson. All rights reserved.
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