“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.” Ephesians 6:5-9
So Paul moves from what the Christ-following family looks like to what the Christ-following employee should look like in the 1st century Greek/Roman Mesopotamian world. He starts with slaves. Wrong as it is, slavery was a thing then. It could be brutal, but in order to interject culture-changing ideas about how people should be treated by others, especially if some were considered owners while others were merely property, Paul had to temper this by speaking to the slaves 1st. He tells them to be respectful and obediant and it’s a tough pill to swallow! They’re to be sincere in their service because really, they’re serving Christ!
All of Paul’s same advice could be translated into our employer/employee relationships!
1. Work like you’re serving Jesus, cause you are!
2. Work with integrity. Don’t just work hard when they’re watching, work hard all the time (because God IS watching)!
3. Do God’s will at work by giving it your all-we really ARE slaves of Christ!
4. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
5. Remember that God is the rewarder of all, whether we are slaves or free!
Next, Paul speaks to Christian masters. His advise would work well for today’s Christian employers. He says to treat your slaves (today’s employees) in the same way. Don’t threaten them.
Now here was the game-changer for 1st century slave owners! Paul writes, “remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and He has no favorites!” In other words, in God’s eyes, all people really ARE created equal! I believe, with these words, Paul was gently setting a new presidence for all of Christian living, beginning with chapter 5:21 to here!
So here’s the deal: we are all created in God’s image and after His likeness. We should treat each other with the same respect we’d like to be shown by each other! We should treat each other as if God was present and watching because He is and does! We should all serve each other like we’re serving Jesus, because WE ARE! The reality is that EVEN IN OUR CULTURE, THIS WOULD BE A GAME-CHANGER!
Think about it!