In the investment business, we talk about the time horizon of a given instrument or security—the point in the future at which the investment is meant to pay off.
In project management, we have the planning horizon. Essentially it’s the same idea—the end date for when the plan will be completed or at least evaluated. One of the confounding yet liberating concepts about our work, is that God’s time horizon stretches beyond the boundaries of time.
The Ultimate Reward
Consider the time horizon in the following instruction:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:22-24)Two points of clarification.
- Slavery: The Apostle Paul was not endorsing the institution of slavery (Instructions in 1 Corinthians 7 and in his letter to Philemon indicate freedom and equality are the utliamte good). Instead he is instructing people who are “stuck” in slavery how to work.
- Inheritance and Reward: Throughout the teaching of Jesus and Paul, there is constantly held out the promise of rewards in the next life for a certain way of being in this life.
The main point: Paul’s readers are instructed to do their work for the Lord, as an act of worship or reverence towards God. The reason: God will reward them for their work. Work, daily work, even the work of a slave, will be given eternal recognition by God.
Back to the Original Question
So why does our work matter to God? Answer: it’s not clear in this passage why, just clear that it does. If mentally and emotionally offered up to him, our daily work is something he sees, is pleased with, and will celebrate for eternity.
How About You?
What are the benefits and challenges of shifting the time horizon for your work into eternity?