Thursday, April 21, 2022
Slavery is offensive. It is the product of a Godless disrespect for all human life. Yet for many cultures it was and even still is a reality. The Apostle Paul addresses such a culture with a Christian perspective in Ephesians 6:5-8.
“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.”
Being a servant-hearted employee is the main point of emphasis Paul makes in today’s Scripture passage. As a former business manager during the 1970’s and 80’s, I watched as the work ethic of people deteriorated. I dealt firsthand with employees who demanded rights more than they fulfilled responsibilities. I dealt with staff who tried to take advantage of their positions for personal gain when they should have been sacrificing their objectives for the good of the company. I saw irresponsibility manifest itself in undependability. I was frustrated with negative attitudes expressed to customers because of some unfulfilled goal of the employee. I watched as life in general became more and more self-centered and it became harder and harder to find employees with a good work ethic.
I’m sure there are some of you today who are struggling with your current employment. I know there is temptation to become critical of your employer. I know you have higher goals. And I know there are times when moving to a different position is the right thing to do. But how we handle those situations is important because it is a key area where the Bible emphasizes our call to reflect the heart of Christ. There are Christ-hearted attitudes and actions that should prevail no matter what your fellow employees or your bosses are doing.
First, do what your told to do, unless it is a directive to sin, and do it with respect, fear, and sincerity. Respect and fear are irrevocably intertwined. They are both being lost in our modern culture. Respect for authority is almost gone, and with it the fear of any consequences. As Christians, we are to be the prime example of these two attitudes in our employment because it’s who we are. As born-again followers of Jesus Christ, our hearts have become His. Our hearts have been transformed so that all the old is gone, and as new creations in Christ all things have been made new. It is the sincere desire of our hearts to please our Savior because we have been overwhelmed by His grace. We don’t put on a show. We don’t do things because we have to, wishing we could be doing something else. We express in our actions and attitudes the true condition of our heart. We are sincere. That is how we are to work for our employer. Don’t just do a good job when they are watching so that they will reward you, but serve as an employee with sincerity, always doing your best, because God is always watching. It is the will of God for you to work this way.
One more thing about respect – it’s not just for the workplace. If our hearts are truly sincere so that we represent Christ all the time, then respect for your employer will carry over into your private life as well. The employee who speaks well of his employer while at work but then ridicules and critics that employer in the home or with friends is not sincere and is not representing Christ. It is imperative that as Christians we live sincere lives that express the heart of our Lord.
Second, do your job wholeheartedly. Do it with excellence. Don’t just get by with the minimum. Don’t just fulfill the job description. Excel! Push yourself to the limits. Learn more than you need to. Give your employer your best, because even if they don’t recognize it or reward it, God will. I should add at this point that this applies to positions you volunteer for in your church as well. I see a huge problem in most churches. People volunteer for a position, then complain about having to do it. They put in only the bare minimum required, and then claim to be serving the Lord wholeheartedly. YUCK! It is in the church of Jesus Christ where the greatest expressions of excellence should occur. I can understand the difficulty of some people to see their secular employment as a ministry to God, but I cannot understand the complacency that exists in the church when people volunteer for positions and then disrespect the Holy Spirit by quenching the full expression of the gifts He gave them. Every place of service in the church should be a place of excellence. There is something wrong with the heart condition of those who serve with critical attitudes and sub-standard effort.
So, evaluate your heart today before you evaluate your job or your boss. Ask Jesus Christ to teach you to be a servant. Ask Him to capture your heart with His love. Then serve Him wholeheartedly in every area of your life. It will be a joy to watch your attitudes change.