By Chris Martin
I’ve worked in Christian publishing my whole career, an industry I’d never planned to enter when I was working on my Bible degree in college, preparing to pastor a church. Over the course of my career, one of my favorite jobs gave me the opportunity to help authors improve their online writing and social media strategy. Some writers are reluctant to self-promote their work online, so part of my job was to help reframe social media for them; the more effective their online presence, the better they can share the gifts God has given them in their writing—not in an effort to become more famous or get more attention, but to serve more readers.
We are called to do all we do for the glory of God, not the praise of men or promotion of ourselves. In today’s reading from Colossians, Paul writes to a few different groups of people: wives and husbands, children and their parents, slaves and masters. The heart of Paul’s message to all of these people is this: “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people” (Colossians 3:23). Ultimately, everything we do is for God, not other people. Not even for ourselves. This is paired with the call in Scripture to consider our interactions with other people. God’s Word “has told each of [us] what is good and what it is the LORD requires of [us]: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8).
However, Paul’s instruction to the Colossians, which was meant to be taken within the context of familial or household relationships, indicates that our relationships with others have not only horizontal implications (with other people), but they also have vertical implications (with God). Every relationship we have—with our wives, our kids, our parents, our bosses, our friends, our acquaintances, and even strangers—is meant to revolve around our relationship with the Lord.
So, when we discipline our children, we do so in the presence of God and for His glory. When we attend a boring work meeting, we do so in the presence of God and for His glory. When we take our ailing parents to their doctor appointments, we do so in the presence of God and for His glory. We are called to submit to one another in love out of reverence for our God who is love (Ephesians 5:21). But we can’t do this in our own strength; we need God, who is love, to work in us and through us to love and honor others in His name (1John 4:16). It is only through Him who first loved us that we are able to love others (v.19). Whatever we do, Paul says, ought to be from the heart and for the Lord, not just for our own good or the good of those around us.