New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
- Let’s start with (v. 5) we read “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;”
- Now Paul moves to the “bondservants” many people had slaves back in Paul’s time and even many of the Christians as well. Some people may ask how a Christian can have slaves. But I see it as these men where living according to their measure of spiritual understanding and their sense of Christian responsibility. We must remember that being a Christian is not like a light switch that we turn on and when we do we see everything. Once the Holy Spirit puts a spark of truth in your heart it takes time for it to grow in to bonfire.
- The question should be; how did the owners treat the slaves after they became Christians?
- (v. 6) we read “6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”.
- What is this “eyeservice” Paul is talking about? The only other time this word appears is in (Col 3:22). It is understandable that the slaves would just do the bare minimum to get by, and this is what Paul is talking about, he is saying not to just do the bare minimum but to do their work as if they were doing it for God. This bare minimum type of work glorifies no one, but if we do our work as if we were working for God, then we glorify Him in all things we do (2 Chron. 16:9).
- Although Paul is dealing primarily with slaves, I see this applying to us today, if we just do the bare minimum at work what are we saying about not just us but Christ. When you tell someone that you are a Christian people look at you different and everything you do is a reflection on God.
- So we should finish with (v. 9) “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him”
- I like the fact that Paul is not letting the masters off the hook as well. We see him telling them that they to have a master and they will be judged but their actions and the way they treat their slaves.
- I have heard that Paul should have out right condemned slavery, but I think Paul knew what he was doing. If he had said “No more slavery let everyone go”. What would have happened? Nothing, most of the owners would have not come to Christ and the why they treated the slaves would have been just as bad or worse. But by laying out principles on how to deal with them, over time we would see a remedy to the evils of servitude.
Thought of the Day
“When integrity and people rate higher than pay and profits, everyone profits!”
“My brother worked 42 years for the Herman Miller Furniture Company. At his retirement dinner he said, “This is my company. Where else could a production worker like me participate in the management of the company?” What had instilled this kind of loyalty? In part, it was the leadership of D. J. De Pree, longtime president of the company.
One day a worker in the plant died suddenly. When Mr. De Pree visited his widow, she told him of her husband’s poetry and of his witnessing to the night watchman. This impressed De Pree with the value of each of the workers in his plant. From then on, his attitude toward the business changed. “I realized,” he said, “that the manufacturer’s first priority was to make his product the best he could for the one who would use it; the second was the man in the factory who made it; and the third was the ownership.”
This attitude is rooted in Scripture. Christians in labor and in management all work for one Master. Employees must therefore serve with diligence. Management must do the same—with two additions. They must be fair and just (Col 4:1) and must not threaten (Eph 6:9).
Integrity, concern for others, and mutual respect make any company a people company. —Dennis J. De Haan
Lord, teach me how to love and work,
So every deed I do
May be to someone in its turn
A service fine and true. —Anon.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
- Compare the phrase “Bond or Free” in (1 Cor. 12:13), (Gal. 3:11), and (Col. 3:11).
- At work do you work with “eyeservice” or as a “bondservants of Christ”?
- What other things do you see in the text?
- Call your Partner and discuss this devotional.
- Continue to have a prayer list and let the new people know you are praying for them.
- Pray with them and ask for the following;
- For God to bring the understanding of working as a bondservants of Christ in to your life.
- For God to strengthen your relationships with others.
- For the individuals on your pray list.
- For today’s prayer verse let’s look at (2 Thess. 2:17).
I am Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the Texas Panhandle
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I like Col. 3:2 ” Set your minds on things above not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” and Col. 3:11 “There is neither slave nor free man (or for that matter difference between male or female), but Christ is all and in all.” Even if our circumstances lead us to slavery, or in our case today… tied down to a job out of neccessity wishing you had an opportunity to leave, we shouldn’t let it affect our work or intergity. More often than not, cirsumstances could really oppress us making us feel dispair, lowering our self image and self worth because of it, but that doen’t have to be the case it’s all mind set. What ever the circumstance we find ourself in (which could changes from time to time) our quality of and commitment shouldn’t change. Personally if I feel I have to work, I may not enjoy it as much, therefore the quality of work may be comprimised; but if I remind myself I have a King as a father who could supply my every need and good wants, then I work out of joy. It’s liberating! I’m speaking out of personal experience being a housekeeper. As christians we claim a victory and inheritance to royality. Just because we’re in a low status or position of servitude, we don’t have to lower our self worth. We’re in Christ and Him in us.
The mindset is easier to set depending on whom we’re comparing ourselves to. As chrisitians we should always have our eyes on Jesus. Just as Jesus came in a lowly human form, and even lower as a poor capenter raised by a poor family, He never took his eyes off who He was in God. In answering Pilate He shows us in John18:37 that He did claim royality even while here on earth. Even though he came as a servant while on earth, he did it always out of love and never lowering his self esteem in anyway. Interesting John is the only one to tell about the washing of the feet showing Jesus humbling himself as a servant and yet later claiming/admitting royality to Pilate. I’m pretty sure there is a verse I read somewhere, that teaches those who are over many, serves many; showing they’re all servants, but the one who servers most, is above all. The mindset makes all the difference. What ever we do, we should do it with all our hearts, mind, soul and strength to the glory of God and not men, knowing that in all we do we actually are doing as to the Lord himself referring to Mat. 24:40. Not only do we do it as to God himself, which is a privilege, but we’re a better witness for Jesus as the Chrisit through humilty and a sincere service of love.
I am lucky; I have the greatest job in the world. So it is very easy to wake up every day and thank Him for allowing me to serve Him. But yes, we must all apply ourselves to the task we are given, whether or not it brings us true joy, we must all remember we testify to Him in everything we do even if it just doing our jobs on a daily basis.