BELIEVING EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS ARE TO WALK UNDER GOD'S AUTHORITY
Today our aim is to carry godly standards into the workplace. Every place is sacred to a believer, and the workplace is no exception.
Why do you work? Have you ever taken the time to think that question through? Chuck Colson and Jack Eckerd share this story in their book, Why America Doesn't Work:
"The story is told of a man who visited a stone quarry and asked three of the workers what they were doing. 'Can't you see?' said the first one irritably. 'I'm cutting a stone.'
"The second replied, 'I'm earning a hundred pounds a week.' But the third put down his pick and thrust out his chest proudly. 'I'm building a cathedral,' he said.
"People view work in many ways: as a necessary evil to keep bread on the table; as a means to a sizable bank account; as self-fulfillment and identity; as an economic obligation within society; as a means to a life of leisure."
Why do you work? Is it just a routine, an unwelcome obligation? Is that all there is to life? Or is there a deeper meaning and purpose that gives your work real significance?
1. EMPLOYEES ARE TO OBEY - vs. 5-8.
vs. 5 & 6 - "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." The thought parallels the modern employee/employer relationship. Servants (and employees) are commanded to be obedient to their masters (employers). Not only is the provision for social order and the delegation of authority in view, there also is the matter of testimony. Thus, he adds that such obedience to masters in the flesh ought to be with respect (i.e., fear) and as necessary trembling. But the greater principle is that such a relationship ought to be ‘in singleness of heart, as unto Christ.” The word translated "singleness" has the sense of ‘sincerity’ or the ‘absence of pretense.’ Thus, our duty on the job ought to be honest and sincere because our ultimate Master is Christ. He continues warning against “eye-service, as men-pleasers.” The thought is of doing right in front of the boss, but goofing off as soon as he turns his back. Such an attitude is being a man-pleaser which is hypocrisy. The boss soon figures that out. Not only is it wrong, it reflects upon our testimony. Our greater motivation ought to be “as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
vs. 7 & 8 - "With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." Our service to those in authority over us ought to be with good will “as to the Lord, and not to men.” Moreover, whatever good we do, even for our employer, the Lord will so reward regardless of our social standing (“bond or free”).
2. EMPLOYERS ARE TO OBEY - vs. 9.
"And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him." Paul now addresses masters, enjoining them likewise to do good with good will toward those under them. He warns against threatening. Furthermore, masters are reminded that they have a Master in heaven who has no respect of persons. Though human society may be partial, God is not. God cares little what rank or position any may have. All are equal before Him whether master or servant, employer or employee.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What happens—what are some natural results—when a Christian believer works for the Lord and not for men? Why do you think God wants you to work for Him and not for men?
2 . What do you think your role is as a witness at your job? Do you worry about pleasing men more than God? Why?
3. Why are some Christians not good workers? What attitudes do they need to change? Are you comfortable with your work ethic? What can you do to be a better worker?
4. How will an understanding of this verse make you a better worker? What steps do you need to take to become a better employer or worker?
5. Is it easier for you to "push people around" in order to get things done? What are some things you can do in order to be a better leader?
6. As you think about your job, what are your biggest concerns? Do you think your attitude needs to change? What do you think you can do to improve your work-environment?
May you allow God to influence your opinion of the workplace both as an employee and as an employer.
Your Friend and HIS,