Paul continues to set down practical rules for the body Timothy is shepherding. In our short reading he deals with “bondservants” and their masters. We have likened this to employer and employee relationships.
I find it interesting that Paul covers both believing and unbelieving “masters.” He cautions the “bondservant” not to take the relationship of brothers in Christ into the work relationship. Paul cautions the “brothers” to maintain the hierarchical relationship. The “master’s” position is not lessened because he is a believer. In fact, Paul says he is deserving of more honor.
I will agree with this, especially if the “master” is acting in a godly fashion. I have worked under believing and unbelieving employers. I am grateful for the believing bosses! One thing I noticed with the believing bosses that I served under was that we shared similar views on most issues. We had some differences but because of our basic foundation was the same. I was also treated with more respect and valued for what I contributed.
As a believing employee, it is our duty to do the best job we can for our employer. We are to work as unto the Lord, even if our employer isn’t a brother/sister in Christ. We don’t even have to like our employer, BUT we do have to respect and honor them. We respect their position and authority because Jesus calls us to. This may even be how they are introduced to Jesus themselves. Our life is our testimony.
For “masters” who are believers, God expects them to treat their servants as Jesus would too. This standard of treatment is expected whether or not the servant is a believer.
Jesus told us to love our enemies and to do good to those who spitefully use us. So in the role of “master” or “bondservant”, respect is key. An attitude of gratitude is also very helpful: “master” (employer), glad to have a servant willing to serve his needs; “bondservant” (employee), grateful for the position and pay with which to support ourselves and families. BOTH need the other.
Thank You Father that we do need one another. Sometimes I think I can “do it meself” but I can’t. I need others in my life. I am also needed in the lives of others; some more obviously (or desperately) than others. Thank You for ALL those relationships. Thank You for the opportunities to support my family through service. Never let me forget that that is in an honor not all receive.
Thank You Lord Jesus for the shared brotherhood with some of my past employers. For those who didn’t know You, I pray that my service demonstrated our relationship. Looking back, I see some areas where I’m sure it didn’t. Please forgive me for those moments. There is nothing I can do to change the past but You can bring to remembrance the positive times instead. Please bring those times forward as a witness for You, instead of the off times.
I would like to ask You to reach down into the life of my most unpleasant boss. Please show him Your love and draw him to You. Let my good examples shine in his mind as a witness for You.