Summary: This is a Scriptural examination of the responsibilities and duties of Christian employers and employees.
One does not have to know me very long before they become aware of the fact that I love the study of history - learning about past civilizations and cultures. What it was like to live in the Roman Empire during the first two centuries particularly fascinates me.
An area of Roman life that I found to be rather interesting was the position of slaves. In Paul’s day, half of the Empire’s population were slaves (60 million strong). Most of these slaves’ lifestyles was quite unlike those that existed in America during the 18-19th centuries. They were not only crop harvesters and blacksmiths… the Roman slaves were usually educated or skilled individuals who were teachers, craftsmen, merchant sailors, beauticians, doctors, secretaries, cooks, waiters and waitresses, treasurers, messengers, groundskeepers, political assistants or advisors, athletes, mechanics, personal bodyguards and the list goes on.
In many ways, I found that the relationship between the Roman slave and Slav master back then is fairly comparable to today’s relationship between the typical employee and employer in the business world. With that in mind, I do not believe we would be overly presumptuous to apply Paul’s instructions for yesterday’s Christian slave/slave master to today’s Christian employee/employer.
I. Duty of Employee: Obedient Labor (Vs. 22).
“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on the earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”
It should be noted that the Apostle condemns “external service” or “eye-service”, referring to the practice of performing a task with everything we got only under supervision of our superior. When the boss or supervisor isn’t looking or nearby, we don’t labor quite so diligently but are rather sluggish.
Instead, the Christian laborer will always put his/her heart into his work out of respect for the Lord’s wishes. Ephesians 6:6, “not by way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
On his/her job, the Christian workman will give his all because he/she is not laboring for merely his earthly master, but for his/her heavenly Master - Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” We do not work for pay or ambition or to satisfy an earthly master; we work so that we can take every task and offer it to Christ. All work is done for God so that His world may go on and His men, women and children have the things they need for life and living. Thus, as Ephesians 6:7 instructs, “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”
RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS ATTITUDE -
A. We will not be an argumentative or disruptive worker.
1 Timothy 6:1, “slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against.”
Titus 2:9, “Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative.”