Ephesians 6:5-9

In Ephesians 6:5-9 Paul shifts gears to focus on ‘bondservants’ which was definitely relevant when he wrote this letter to the Ephesians. “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ….” Moule explains “The Gospel found slavery in the world; and in many regions, particularly the Roman and the Greek, it was a very bad form of slavery. The Gospel began at once to undermine it, with its mighty principles of the equality of all souls in the mystery and dignity of manhood, and of the equal work of redeeming love wrought for all souls by the supreme Master. But its plan was – not to batter, but to undermine… So while the Gospel in one respect left slavery alone, it doomed it in another.”

Today the principles here apply to us as workers and leaders/managers. The words “as you would Christ” should change our entire perspective as workers. It reminds us that our work can and should be done as if we were working for Jesus – because we are! We are not to work with eyeservice (working only when the boss is looking) or as people-pleasers (those who only care about pleasing man), but with good will (a good attitude, not complaining) doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. “….not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man….” 

We need to live and work to please an audience of ONE, God Himself, and not only for man. Spurgeon wrote “Grace makes us the servants of God while still we are the servants of men: it enables us to do the business of heaven while we are attending to the business of earth: it sanctifies the common duties of life by showing us how to perform them in the light of heaven.” Our work needs to be done for the Lord, not just for man. And there is a reward. “….knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.” Paul relates a final reason for working hard for the Lord. God will return to us in the measure that we have worked hard for others; He will not allow our hard work to go without reward.

Paul then gives a word to the masters (or bosses in todays terminology). Employees are to work hard and honestly for their bosses, but bosses are to do the same on behalf of those who work for them. “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.” Moule explains “So the Gospel leaves its message of absolutely equal obligation, in Jesus Christ, upon the slave and upon the slave owner. The principle will do its work. There is no word of Revolution.” Employers are to give up threatening and other forms of harsh treatment knowing that they are employees of their Master in heaven.

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