If you’ve been following along in the daily reflections, you may have picked up that I have had a lot of jobs. This means that I have had a lot of paychecks! Don’t get ahead of yourselves, in some cases we’re talking $20 a day, cleaning three meals a day worth of pots and pans for a Christian campground! I just did the math, but from July 1991 till May 2016, there hasn’t been a month I haven’t gotten a paycheck for working! No, seriously! That’s 300 months of work, and at least one paycheck, sometimes two a month! I’m blown away right now!
I told the story to my wife the other day about my dad walking me up to the local bank to open my first checking account at 12-years-old. I remember meeting with the bank manager and the clerk who would help me not only open my first checking account, but would also give me my first checkbook. They also showed me what I needed to do in order to make a deposit. This is an important feature to a person with a checking account.
One day, I walked up to the bank to deposit my check and did all the things I was taught to do. I don’t know why, but I was ALWAYS nervous about this whole process. After handing the teller my check and deposit slip, she says, “Oh, I’m sorry we have a problem.” Not words you want to hear at the bank. She continued, “It looks like your check isn’t signed.” Funny, I remember just a few seconds ago intentionally signing the back of my check. I laughed and told her, “Oh, turn the church over, my signature’s on the back.” She gave me one of those, thanks Captain Obvious looks and said it wasn’t my signature missing, it was the owners. Wait… What? Realize at that point I’m holding a really fancy piece of paper that was only worth the amount of printing.
It hit me as I think back on that moment; I worked to earn the amount on that check. By signing the check, the owner was verifying not only that I worked, but that I was worth the amount on that skinny slip of paper. However, by not signing the check, my work was worthless…or was it?
Here’s the thing, just because the check wasn’t signed didn’t change the work I did to earn the check. In fact, there’s a real reality-check when you think, would I be willing to do all that I did to earn that check again…for free? Now, grant it, some would say, no, that’s not smart business. Shoot, I don’t necessarily think that’s good business. But what I’m talking about here goes beyond smart business, but to a much deeper issue, your heart. The deeper reality is this: My boss may physically sign my paycheck, but it’s Jesus’ signature I’m more concerned about. Let me ask you, who signs your check?
Colossians 3:23 (NLT) 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Lets just be honest, this verse has moved from relevant to cliché, especially when you feel like you’re being manipulated in it’s usage. I think it’s become cliché because we’ve forgotten who it’s written to. This verse isn’t written as instruction for you and me; unless you’re currently a slave with a master…and I’m not talking about your current boss.
This verse is written to slaves who literally had earthly masters. Slavery played a huge role in the Roman world. It wasn’t just legal, it was common and even expected that everyone had a slave. But what happens when either the master or the slave became a Christian? This… this is what Paul is addressing in this context. Paul here is not condoning or condemning slavery, instead he’s indicating, WHATEVER, meaning if it’s associated with your job or not, do it for the Lord! Paul was communicating a higher standard of living in a Christian household. In Paul’s day, women, children, and slaves had very little rights. In this section (v. 18-25) Paul is communicating the necessity to be caring, regardless of your context or even lack of voice.
At the end of the day, it may be your boss who signs your check, but it’s Jesus signature that gives it value.