“With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”
1) A call to radically Lord-centered living.
It is astonishing compared to the way we usually live. Paul says that all our work should be done as work for Christ, not for any human supervisor. “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” This means that we will think of the Lord in what we are doing at work. We will ask, Why would the Lord like this done? How would the Lord like this done? When would the Lord like this done? Will the Lord help me do this? What affect will this have for the Lord’s honor? In other words, being a Christian means radically Lord-centered living. What you are asked to do by a supervisor should generally be viewed as an appeal from the Lord.
2) A call to be a good person.
Lord-centered living means being a good person and doing good things. Paul says, “With good will render service . . . whatever good thing each one does . . .” Jesus said that when we let our light shine men will see our “good deeds” and give glory to our Father in heaven. Lord-centered living does good deeds for the glory of the Lord.
3) Power to do a good job for inconsiderate earthly employers.
Paul’s aim is to empower Christians with Lord-centered motives to go on doing good for supervisors who are not considerate. How do you keep on doing good in a job when your boss ignores you or even criticizes you? Paul’s answer is: stop thinking about your boss as your main supervisor, and start working for the Lord. Do this in the very duties given to you by your earthly supervisor. Look through the supervisor to the sovereign Lord, and don’t worry about the supervisor’s thoughtlessness. Think about the Lord’s reward.
4) Encouragement that nothing good is done in vain.
Perhaps the most amazing sentence of all is this: “Whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord.” This is amazing. Everything. Every little thing you do that is good is seen and valued by the Lord. And he will pay you back for it. Not in the sense that you have earned anything by putting him in your debt. He owns you and everything in the universe. He owes us nothing. But he freely, graciously chooses to reward good things done in faith. Nothing we do. Nothing. Not one thing is done in vain. “Whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord.” Astounding!
5) Encouragement that insignificant status on earth is no hindrance to great reward in heaven.
The Lord will reward every good thing you do—“whether slave or free.” Your supervisor may think you are a nobody. Or he may not even know you exist. That doesn’t matter. The Lord knows you exist. And he is going to reward you on the same terms as the most famous Christian. There is no partiality with God (1 Peter 1:17). “Whether slave or free” your good is recorded and rewarded.
O, how I long to live and do my ministry more and more with a view to the Lord’s reward alone and not to man’s.
Dwelling more and more on Christ with you,
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org