Summary: Eph 5:21 says "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Paul's third example is the relationship between employers and employees.
RELATIONSHIPS – EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
King Edward of England appointed William Wickham to build a church. William Wickham performed his duty and finished by writing in one of the windows, "This work made William Wickham." When the king saw this he confronted William for assuming the honor of building the church himself when he was really only the overseer. He answered that he did not mean that he made the work, but that the work made him. Before he had been poor and unknown, and now he was well known and established financially. His words were not based in arrogance but reflected his deepest gratitude. When it says in the Bible that we are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” this does not mean that we make salvation but that salvation makes us. Our relationship with Jesus changes our perspective in all areas including our vocation.
Today we are continuing our series on relationships from the book of Ephesians.
Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 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. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free 9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
1. Instructions to Employees –
The word used here for slave is the Greek word DOULOS. I know this word well because I lived on a ship called Doulos for two years! You may be thinking “how does this verse apply to me?” I am not a slave – slavery is wrong. While the word DOULOS can mean slave it’s broader meaning is bond-servant – a person who works in exchange for something. In other words it means an employee. Many of us here are employed in some form or another. Employment means that you have committed yourself to an occupation from which you derive your livelihood. You are selling your time to another person.
The average person will spend almost 100,000 hours at work during the course of their lifetime. Someone once estimated that from age 18 to age 65, working 40 hours a week, you’ll spend more than 1/3rd of your life at work! Let me ask you a question - do you enjoy your work? What kind of an employee are you? Do you find it fulfilling and look forward to it or do you dread it and see it as something to be endured – a necessary evil?
Few men ever drop dead from overwork, but many quietly curl up and die because of under satisfaction. -- Sydney Harris
If you are struggling with your present occupation then perhaps the following questions might help:
a. Do you see your work as your ministry?
Do you see your work as the Lord’s will for your life. Do you see it as the mission field to which God has called you to at this particular time and place. What is it that you want to get from your job? Do you see it as a means to an end – just a way to provide for your family?
No one can make a real masterpiece of life until he sees something infinitely greater in his vocation than bread and butter and shelter. -- Orison Swett Marden
No life can be dreary when work is delight. -- Frances Havergal
Nothing is work to you unless you would rather be doing something else. -- Sir James Barrie
When we see our work as the place to which God called us we begin to make the most of every opportunity we have. Instead of just trying to get through the day so that you can get home you begin to see opportunities for ministry all around you.
I was excepted to go on a summer missions trip to China in 1988. I had a months after school before the trip so I got a job at Canada’s Wonderland to make money for the trip. I almost missed the great opportunities around me to tell others about Christ because I figured the job was unimportant and I was just focused on the trip. Are you proud of what you do and try to be the very best at doing it.
The name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This is true because Antonius Stradivarius insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near perfection as human care and skill could make it. Stradivarius said, "God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if any violins are defective God’s music will be spoiled." His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: "Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one."