There was a period of time in our culture when the word “whatever” was used frequently, almost with a sense of exasperation – sort of like, “I don’t really believe you or accept what you are saying/doing but it’s not worth my time and effort to interact, so instead I’ll just say ‘whatever’ and move on.”
I don’t think that is at all the frae of reference Paul had when he penned these verses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Col 3:23
I think Colossians 3:17 was the favorite verse of the minister we had growing up – Dr Allen. I feel like I heard that verse and over from him from the time I was little. A good foundation to build upon.
Somehow though in all the times I read and heard these verses I seemed to equate these to daily functions and activities. For example – do my paid employment with full zeal because I am doing it for God. Sometimes I even could attribute it to the work I do to maintain my home, or what I do when I am on a missions trip, or even when interacting with others. Though the verses say “whatever” leaving a pretty wide open field and 3:17 includes word or deed these always became specific tangible deed based verses as it were to me.
This week when I read them my mind went to one of my besetting sins. It is an area I have worked on from time to time over the years, sometimes more successfully than others. Sometimes when engaged in this area of spiritual battle I feel armed and ready and sometimes I just give up and say “I can’t.” I was suddenly struck that even in a battle within my heart or mind, that’s a “whatever.” Maybe even more so than with a tangible deed I need to fight that battle with all my heart and go forth in the name of the Lord Jesus.
This changes the whole tone of “Whatever!” Instead of hearing it as an apathetic response, it’s a forceful reminder – EVERYTHING I DO, THINK, BE, even that which no one sees, and maybe internal only, I want to do in the name of the Lord Jesus and for HIM!