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A Christian’s Response to Discouragement at Work

November 27, 2019

Work is an essential aspect of our lives. After all, as Christians we are to work hard for the glory of God.  Yet it happens that even when we do so we can still feel unappreciated in the work that we do. What are we to do in response to this feeling?  

Remind Yourself Why You Work (Colossians 3:17)

Everything the Christian does is for the Lord and to be done for His glory. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Notice what Paul says to the Christians at Colossae. They are to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,” meaning whatever they do and whatever tasks or work they are engaged in, it’s all to be done for the Lord.

At the heart of Paul’s discussion in Colossians 3:17 is the idea of what theologians call our vocation, namely what we do to make a living to provide for our families. And Paul is speaking to here in the context in Colossians 3, which discusses how to put off the flesh and put on the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:12).

This, in particular, is why Christians can work hard and for the glory of God.  Christians are those who are submitted to the Lordship of Christ over all. Christ is Lord, not of some aspect of our lives but of every facet of our lives.

Know Your Work Is Not in Vain (1 Corinthians 15)

Christians must recognize that that the labor they do is not in vain because the Lord is triumphant (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). Even so, work is to be done according to the ways of God for such work is done for the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Tucked away towards the very end of Corinthians is 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Christians can “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain” because of Christ. Christians can whatever they do it all for the glory of God, whether it’s noticed or unnoticed.

Remember God Sees and Knows Your Work (Proverbs 15:3 and Hebrews 6:10)

There is not one square inch in the Christian life where God doesn’t see and know you, dear Christian. He sees when you do the dishes, vacuum, clean the house, when you change a diaper (even if it’s not your kid), or clean up a mess, not your own.

God does see all the work we have, but even more so, He sees and knows our hearts. At root, our identity in Christ isn’t to be rooted in whether people know us or celebrate our work or not. Our work is to be done before the face of God. Rather than being discouraging, understanding our Christian lives and work in this way is encouraging.

Our God sees and knows us at work, so we can focus on Him in every phase of life.

Be Thankful to the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Let’s say at church you greet people, but no one ever says thank you for greeting them. Do you feel entitled to get a pat on the back for greeting someone? Or are you there to greet people to make them feel welcome? The difference is significant.

Everything in our Christian life is to be done for the glory of God. We exist in other words to abound as Christians in the work of the Lord and to do it in the strength He supplies with thankfulness:

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

A Right Perspective About Work

When we have the right perspective towards our work, whatever that is, we will get less discouraged by whether people pat us on the back and say, “Good job.” When people thank us, we should be genuinely thankful for the encouragement but not let it determine our worth nor define our happiness.

Our identity is not in what we do but in Christ. What Paul is trying to get the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:58 to understand is work is essential, and they are to abound in the work they’ve been called to and wherever He has placed them. Christians are to work hard wherever they are, for they work for the glory of God and the good of others. Our reward is not for ourselves; it is for others to see Christ being formed in us and Christ being demonstrated through us.

If you feel discouraged today by going unnoticed, focus on the Lord. He is your true joy and the delight of your soul. We all have seasons where we get lots of encouragement and some seasons where we get none. In either season of life, the Lord knows and sees our real heart motivation. So, we can rest in Him and entrust the results of our work to Him, for He is the rewarder of both.

Photo Credit: Unsplash


The Author
Dave Jenkins

Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in sunny Southern California. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his MAR and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.


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