"And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free."
I loved the first part of this....not so much the second. The Message often really strikes me but occasionally I struggle with how they put it. In the NIV it says "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free." I think The Message version makes it seem like you should do the good work in order to get the reward and the NIV version makes it seem more like you do it knowing that even if people on earth don't seem to see it, God will see it. I don't know. Maybe I am misinterpreting it? That is why I decided to use it today...to see if anyone else had any comments about it! :-) Not trying to start a debate! :-)
As an application, I think we do need to keep this in the back of our minds. We are doing our work, with a good attitude, for God, not for the people around us. Yes, it can bless the people around us, give them and us peace of mind or happiness or even just less frustration but that isn't our motivation. I forget that! Sometimes I forget that God does actually care about my house being a clean healthy environment for my family. God cares that whatever I do, whether cleaning or cooking or hauling the amish or volunteering or whatever, I need to remember to do it to the best of my ability with a good attitude. Sometimes I allow my attitude to be driven by who is "giving the orders". I fully admit that there are times when I look at my phone and don't answer because the call is from an amish family that regularly takes twice as long as they say they will and if I turn down the run they always question me. Sometimes it is easier not to answer than it is to answer and have to explain myself.
Father, I feel like I am not making sense today. I feel like I know what I want to say and I am having trouble expressing it so I am trusting You to help people hear what YOU would have them hear today! And that includes ME! I am sure that You inspired every word of the Bible and that you are able to reveal your meanings to us in your time. Thank you for that!