Verse: Ephesians 6:5-9
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
In Ephesians chapters 5 and 6, Paul gives us instructions on how to live with others. He gives us important advice on how to live as husband and wife, as parents and children, and then in this passage, as worker and employer. Paul is telling us that we should be diligent workers as if we were working for God. He says something similar in Co 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. We can ask the same question that Chris Fraser asked in yesterday’s devotion, Why?
Paul is telling the Ephesians (and us) that, as Christians, we should act differently than we did when we were not Christians. He is describing worldly thinking and actions of people who do the work halfheartedly and only when the boss is looking. Why should we not be like we once were?
Once we accept Christ as our Savior, we embark on a new life, living for the Lord. We are now God’s ambassadors. We are representatives both at home and at work. If those who come in contact with us see a different way of living, they will want to know why and we will be able to tell them about Jesus. Christians will be known for their industriousness and integrity. Our respect for our employer (instead of backbiting or complaining) is because we respect all people, the rich and the poor, who are made in the image of God.
In a practical sense, Paul knows that hard work is usually rewarded on earth. What employer doesn’t want a hardworking, honest employee? But beyond that, he says that you will be rewarded by God for doing good. We are, in reality, working for God. That should be reason enough to give our all.
Paul doesn’t let employers off the hook. The employer is to treat his employees well since he and his employees are both serving God and God does not have favorites.
Whether we are employees or employers, we can often feel that work is an area that is outside of our Christian life and is only governed by earthly rules. But you will be surprised if you let God into your workplace. If you work hard, if you look for what God is doing around you at work, if you pray for those that you work with, you will see His hand bringing people to himself and changing you and others at work.
Dear God, help us to be the people that you want us to be at work. We invite you into this area of our lives. Come and bring your peace and your power so that your kingdom comes on earth, at our work, as it is in heaven.
Author: Brad Dunn