5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.
9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Ehesians 6:5-9 ESV
What motivates you to go to work or school today? Paychecks? Good grades? Or do you just go to school because you want a good job? And then to make a living so work? In the past, when I got my paystub, the first thing I checked was not my salary but my vacation hours accrued. One of my biggest motivators at work was getting paid vacation. Everyone’s reasons and motivations for going to work and school are different. How about considering going to work or school today with the motivation to build a good relationship with people and with a heart to work for the Lord?
This part of Paul’s epistles is written to the master-servant relationship that pertains to our daily lives. We run year-end job performance reviews every year, and Paul’s teaching here gives us a model to self-examine our work ethics and conduct in any work environment and field of services. The learning here is simple and plain —
- Obedience. We are to obey our superiors (bosses or teachers), whether they are good or bad, with fear and sincerity as we obey Christ.
- Integrity. We are to work and serve with integrity, whether being watched or not, not as people-pleasers but as servants of Christ.
- Rewards. We may not always think our current job or school is rewarding. But we are not only working for earthly rewards but also heavenly ones. Our Master in heaven is the one who rewards.
- Masters to do the same. Employers and those with authority to also do the same as the above instructions given to the servants. They must also exercise that authority with integrity, giving all their heart and effort to the work.
- Same Master in heaven. Most importantly, both servants and masters have the same Master in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Though the instructions are simple, the application can be challenging. It may seem like Utopia, where servants and masters work in harmony by treating one another with mutual respect and integrity without questioning if one is worthy of it. Nevertheless, God is not demanding us to do the impossible. It is a vivid relationship that we can live out because He has transformed us through the salvation of Jesus Christ. We have also been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3).
How will we live in response to this abundant grace from God? As we set out to work and school today, regardless of our positions, let us determine to obey and serve from the heart as an expression of our commitment and service to the Lord, not just for people.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:16
We do this because we love our Lord, Jesus, and we want to show the world our love for Him through our work.