Colossians 3:23-25

In Colossians 3:23-25 Paul transitions to discussing how ‘slaves’ should act. He has dealt with husbands, wives and children in preceding verses. “Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” In today’s terms – slaves in Paul’s eyes are how employees respond to employers or supervisors (earthly masters). This is another sphere of God’s order of authority. Employees have a God-ordained role of obedience and submission to their employers or supervisors. This isn’t a call to literal slavery, but a recognition of authority.

Barclay explained “It will be noted that this section is far longer than the other two; and its length may well be due to long talks which Paul had with the runaway slave, Onesimus, whom later he was to send back to his master Philemon.” Vaughan further wrote “More than half the people seen on the streets of the great cities of the Roman world were slaves. And this was the status of the majority of ‘professional’ people such as teachers and doctors as well as that of menials and craftsmen.” The surroundings were different, but God’s structure and authority continues to today. Employees have a call to serve their employers well.

Paul makes that clear in this statement: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” The temptation is always to work just as hard as we have to, thinking we only have to please our boss. But God wants every worker to see that ultimately, we work for Him. As such, we should do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. God promises to reward those who work with that kind of heart. At the end of the day we work for an audience of ONE – He alone is the one we ultimately need to satisfy.

Some of the biggest violations of this come from believers who think they can leverage a Christ Follower boss for sympathy. “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” When a Christian employee does poorly on the job, he should not expect special leniency from his boss, especially if his boss is a Christian. Being a Christian should make us more responsible, not less responsible. Sometimes partiality means that bad workers are unfairly rewarded and good employees are penalized or left unrewarded. Those scores will be settled someday by God, but our role right here and right now is to serve our employer with all we have as if we were working directly for God!

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  1. […] Colossians 3:23-25 […]

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