Summary: A sermon on integrity and God Honoring in our work place.
How to be a Great Worker
1. Everyday-life: Experts seem to agree that one in three or 1/3 of the population of Rome during the time was a slave - common everyday life occurrence. They do all kinds of labor intensive jobs, working in mines, fields, and some are doctors, teachers… Hence, the economy is dependent on slave labor.
2. Generally, in Bible times, slaves were not treated well by their masters. Once a person was classified as a slave the person’s rights were diminished immensely. The slave was not a person but a property, or a thing of its master, and the slave had no lawful place other than to benefit the master. This is clearly seen in the Roman statesman Cato who said, “Old slaves should be thrown on a dump, and when a slave is ill, do not feed him anything. It is not worth your money. Take sick slaves and throw them away because they are nothing but ineffective tools.” Since the slave was regarded as the property of the master, a master could then inflict upon the slave as much or as little abuse as he or she found necessary. Being property, a master also owned everything the slave acquired while serving this master,
So we gotta remember these are the prevailing attitudes and workplace conditions of the day. They were a lot worse, especially when we know that many slaves are acquired in violence, such being POWs or being sold by your family, or kidnapped…
Since the curse in the Garden of Eden in Gen.3:17-19 our work has been difficult and toilsome – thus the idea of “a curse”.
As a result of living in world that is not heaven, we will struggle… It will be hard.
We find in our text this week that even in work, no matter how toilsome it may be, we can live and work in a way that brings honor to God and others. Similar to our marriage, and our family relationships with our children, our work relationships can also be a vehicle for demonstrating God in us!
Once again, the key component for us making a lasting impact on the world is our willingness to submit to one another. Let’s look at what God says about our work relationships and how they can bring honor to Him.
I. Workers Honor God As We Obey Those In Authority Over us. (Eph. 6:5)
1. While the Bible doesn’t speak against slavery overtly, it clearly speaks against the kidnapping of anyone for the purpose of making him or her a slave. (Ex. 21:16)
Exodus 21:16 (NIV)
16 "Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.
2. Slaves are commanded to be obedient to those whom are their masters.
a) Be obedient is in the present tense and therefore indicated a continual uninterrupted obedience.
b) They are to obey in everything and at all times with the only exception being when they are instructed to do something that was immoral or blasphemous.
3. While the concept of being a slave is lost on us today, the idea of bringing honor to God and to our boss by our obedient and exemplary work is not.
4. Christians are to submit to anyone to whom they report and are under their authority.
a) When a believer sits down beside her boss in a worship service she does so as a complete equal in Christ.
b) But on the job she is to submit to the authority of her boss, because that gives testimony to her submission to the higher authority of God’s Word.
5. So whether a boss is kind or cruel, Christian or non-believer, a Christian worker is to be obedient to the boss because that is God’s will.
a) The Scriptures speak to this in Titus 2:
Titus 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,
10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
6. How a believer works in his or her job reflects on the Lord, regardless of who the human master or employer may be.
a) Now granted, this obedience and submission is only to the point of what is moral.
b) No one is required to blindly submit to an authority that is asking them to do something that is immoral and against God’s Word.
c) We are not to lie, cheat, or steal for our boss.