“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.” Colossians 3:23-24
Working heartily and not half-hearted is what God wants from us – not just at work but in all the work we do. It’s a principle that can be challenging to apply, especially in a difficult season of work or a job that we feel stuck in. And on top of applying it to my own life, how do I model that for my kids to see?
If we are raising kids, we are also training and equipping them for their upcoming seasons. They are in spring training, and we’re Coach Dad.
A cool book I’ve referenced over the years is Passing the Baton: 100 Life Principles and Skills Every Father Needs to Teach His Children by Grady Hauser. It goes through seasons of a child’s life and appropriate ways to teach general, spiritual, and financial principles and skills for each age. One of the ideas he shares that has been helpful to me is the ATS Principle. It’s easy to apply and to pass along to your kids, and it gives them something definite to shoot for.
ATS is the “and then some” principle, meaning I do everything that’s expected of me and then some. It’s the idea of not just being counted to complete a job but being counted on PLUS.
Here are 3 lessons I think they can begin to learn from it.
1. Working with excellence.
The ATS Principle means not just getting the job done, but getting it done with excellence.
It’s getting the job done with a great attitude.
It’s not just meeting expectations but exceeding them.
It teaches them to think, “What’s the best I can do?” over “What’s the least I can do?”
2. Working joyfully as unto the Lord.
Hauser suggests we can start teaching this principle to our kids in elementary school. I love it- it’s an excellent opportunity to teach not only a good work ethic, but how we can have joy in Who we work for even if we don’t take joy in doing the task at hand. They can begin to see, even in the little things like chores and homework, that the One they are really working for is worthy of excellence.
3. Working with eternal perspective.
“Working at the right things, and working hard is the only combination that will consistently yield lasting, positive results.”
Work isn’t who we are, but it is a way that we can reflect God’s glory to others. It is a way we can not only provide for our family but also for others in the community who have needs. It is a way we can spread the gospel and provide resources to send around the world for the same purpose.
Working with excellence is not about money. It’s not about a job. The ATS Principle applies at home, in relationships, and everything we do. It is about fulfilling a calling that God has purposed. The kids have just started a new school year. Maybe it is a good time to lock arms with our kids and learn and grow in this season together.
Check out these resources on work from Noble Warriors.