I am afraid some people who call themselves Christians have the same misunderstanding. They think their “shift” is Sunday morning from 9 to noon, and all they have to do is sit in a comfortable seat in an air conditioned building and that should be enough to get them to Heaven, in fact, that should “earn” them Heaven. I mean, what more could God possibly expect than for them to give up a good-sized chunk of their weekends?
They are so mistaken. God expects hard work. Jesus set the example of hard work. He rose early in the morning (Mark 1:35); he often worked through meals (John 4:31-34); he was always looking to the next village, the next person to save (Mark 1:38,39). Finally he was able to say, I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do, John 17:4. Do we really think God will expect any less of us?
Paul tells us we should work heartily [for our masters on earth] as unto the Lord, Col 3:23, which presupposes that we are actually working hard for the Lord, and need to be told to work that hard for our “masters” as well. Our shift for the Lord begins the day we commit ourselves to Him. It doesn’t end until we end.
Paul reminds us to Give diligence to present yourself approved unto God, 2 Tim 2:15. Diligence means you keep working even if the work is long, difficult, tedious or unpleasant. You cannot take a break; you cannot call in sick; you cannot stop for any reason short of death, and still you have not earned your paycheck. And be glad of that, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Rom 6:23. You really don’t want the paycheck you have earned.
And exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come. Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation. For to this end we labor and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of them that believe. 1 Tim 4:7-10.