“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
The Christian who walks with Jesus is able to maximize his performance and productivity because his mind is not distracted by the fear of performing below expectations or distorted by the desire to boost ego. All of his focus and energy go into doing his job. He is motivated to serve God and others, not to avoid criticism or achieve recognition.
Os Guinness provides great insight here. "A life lived listening to the decisive call of God," he writes, "is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others—the Audience of One." To live and work in response to the call of God is to live before his eyes and his heart, and it transforms what we do and why we do it.
Dr. Guinness puts it this way: "We who live before the Audience of One can say to the world: 'I have only one audience. Before you I have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose.'”
The irony is that God is both infinitely more accepting and infinitely more demanding than any human audience. He sees our failings and weaknesses, yet still loves us and fully embraces us. There is nothing we can do performance-wise that would cause him to love us more or love us less.
Yet at the same time, the Lord calls us to standards of living and working that are higher than any standard on earth. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ …” (Philippians 1:27)
And the Lord constantly evaluates us ... not just our behavior, but our innermost thoughts and motives.
Who can withstand such scrutiny? Who can hold up under that kind of relentless, piercing critique? The answer: People who have surrendered to Christ, who are redeemed by the blood of the cross, and who have experienced God's grace. People who know they are loved by God and called into relationship with him, and who also know that God is working in them and through them to accomplish purposes far greater than self.
So the question is this: Is the manner of our life worthy of the gospel of Christ? Is the work we do every day motivated by gaining approval and avoiding the criticism of others, or do we work every day for the Audience of One?
This is Paul’s message in the Colossians passage above. Whatever job you have, there is work that is required. Do the work from the heart, and be fully aware that while your work matters in this world, it matters even more to God. You are ultimately serving the Lord.
Don’t be a people pleaser. Do your work for the Audience of One.