Living Life from 9 to 5
Lay hands on Paul
Have you seen any of these bumper stickers before?
I am so poor, I can’t even pay attention
I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go
On my way to work, please kill me
I am sure you have seen many other work or bill related bumper stickers, but the point is, is that there are many people who view work as something that is completely dreadful or as only a means to pay the bills.
Our job was never meant to be that.
Some people think that work is part of the curse, but that isn’t true.
Even before Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them work to do. Work isn’t the curse. The curse that came because of our sin made work difficult and hard.
But regardless of your view of work, the fact of the matter is that each of us are going to spend a significant part of our life working.
If you worked 40 hours per week from age 16 to 65, you would work more than 100,000 hours in your lifetime!
That is a lot of hours.
If as Christians we are going to live a life that glorifies the Lord, we need to know how to live life from 9 to 5 in our work places!
So, turn with me to Ephesians 6:5-9
And lets learn how we can live life to God’s glory in our working life.
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.
Ok, so in these verses we see Paul actually addressing slaves and masters.
Does the Bible condone slavery?
I think Warren Wiersbe does a good job of explaining the social system of the day under the Roman Empire and the effects of the gospel
“Nowhere in the New Testament is slavery per se attacked or condemned, though the overall thrust of the gospel is against it. Paul’s ministry was not to overthrow the Roman government or any of its institutions, but to preach the Gospel and win the lost to Christ. Certainly the results of his evangelism ultimately led to the overthrow of the Roman Empire, but that was not Paul’s main motive. Just as the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield resulted in the abolition of slavery and child labor, the elevation of women, and the care of the needy, so Paul’s ministry contributed to the death of slavery and the encouragement of freedom. However, he was careful not to confuse the social system with the spiritual order in the church.”
Warren Wiersbe – The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 2 – Ephesians, pg. 55
Paul preached in the midst of a social context just as we do and he preached the gospel faithfully. The gospel is what has the power to change not only lives, but cultures for God’s glory.
So while this text today was originally written to bondservants and those in authority over them, this can be easily applied to our social system and context in regards to employees and employers, and that is what we are going to do.
So as we take a look at this Scripture for our day, what can we learn?
And I believe the first thing we need to learn
To live Life from 9 to 5 as an Employee…
You need to Obey your Boss
Ephesians 6:5a - Slaves, obey your earthly masters…
Obey…we don’t like that word if we are the ones who have to obey. We like it a lot more when other have to obey us.
But the reality is that we all have people that we are in submission to that we have to obey.
I would imagine that a good majority of the people here today have a job with a boss.
Are you doing the job your boss is giving you to do?
Are you not seeking to undermine your boss, but to hear what it is he wants done and then doing it?
We need to do the job we have been given to do without complaining about it.
I do think some jobs are very difficult and I do think that it is ok to look for another job when things are not right or fair, but I also think we need to obey and do our job for the glory of the Lord.
Get paid but don’t work?
I think sometimes in our society, we have people that want to get paid, but don’t want to work. Nobody owes you a job. You are paid to do what they hired you for. If you do not like your job, then look for a new one, but we need to work and do the job that we have been hired to do.
On the Job Evangelist?
In the Christian world, I will sometimes come across people who will use their job as a mission field. That is awesome. I did the same thing when I worked at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
However, I did not neglect my job to do that.
I have come across non-Christians sometimes who do not want to work with a Christian because the Christian is too busy talking to others and not doing their job and leaving their job to others!
Obey your boss and do the job you were hired to do. Your testimony as a Christian will be enhanced by your work ethic. But when you fail to obey your boss and do the work you were hired to do, you dishonor the Lord, even if your motive is wanting to see people come to Christ.
Obey your boss and do the job you have been hired to do and the Lord will guide you into opportunities without dishonoring him by neglecting your job.
Well we not only need to obey our bosses and do our jobs, but
You need to Respect your Boss
Ephesians 6:5 - Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Here is where it gets a bit tougher.
We can obey our boss. They are paying us to do our job. We can do it and “get er done.”
But not only are we to obey our boss, but we are to do it with respect and sincerity of heart.
Whoa. Wait a minute. My boss is a godless, mean and arrogant individual. There is no way that I can respect him.
Even for those bosses that are godless and arrogant, we can respect their position.
We need to realize that all authority in our life is ultimately established by God. That does not mean they are godly, but God is still able to use them for his purpose.
Listen to what Paul tells us in Romans 13 that “there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)
For an example of respect for authority, take the presidency for instance.
No matter who holds the office of the president, I am sure there are people who are not going to like him.
But that office still deserves respect. I think if the president invites you to an audience with him, you should go, even if you disagree with him on many issues. The office demands respect.
The people that God has placed in positions over us in our work places should be respected because of their position. To respect the position and to treat the person who holds that position with respect is what the Lord calls us to.
When we do that, we honor the Lord.
Ok, so we need to obey our boss, respect our bosses position and authority and
You need to serve your boss
Ephesians 6:7 - Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
Now, I think the first 2 things can technically be done by anyone, without the help of the Lord.
We can obey our bosses because we understand it is our job and we get paid.
We can respect the position of our boss, even when he might be a jerk, when we understand it is his job.
But to serve our boss gets significantly more difficult without a relationship with the Lord.
Serving whole heartedly means that you are going above and beyond.
It means you are going to go the extra mile in your job because that is what Jesus wants us to do. We aren’t just meeting expectations, we are truly serving our boss.
This is something that we aren’t going to do out of the goodness of our heart.
We are only going to do that by the power of Christ and because He said to.
We see great biblical examples of people going the extra mile in the Old Testament.
Daniel, just a youth when he was taken captive, he was a slave in the land of Babylon. But that did not stop him from being an exceptional servant. He served the king even though he was exiled to Babylon and he served in such a way that it was visible.
In fact it says in
Daniel 6:3-4 that
Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
Wow. That is a person who was brought to the country as a slave yet served wholeheartedly.
Another example is Rebekah, Isaac’s wife. She also is a great example of someone who goes the extra mile.
In Genesis 24, we see that Abraham sent a servant to find Abraham’s son, Isaac, a wife. The Lord led him to Rebekah. Rebekah came out to draw some water from the well and gave Abraham’s servant some water and offered to water his camels.
Now giving water to a camel is not like giving water to your dog. A camel can easily drink 20 to 30 gallons of water and Abraham’s servant had 10 camels with him (Genesis 24:10). That is 200 to 300 gallons of water! She was probably just coming to the well to fetch water for the evening meal.
Now imagine for a second, you are running out to the store to pick up a gallon of milk for dinner. It is 5 o’clock, the family is hungry.
Some stranger asks you to push one of his carts out to his car. You oblige, and you see he has 10 carts full of groceries. So you offer help him push all the carts out. It is about 5:30 now. All the groceries won’t fit in his van, so you offer to take some in your van to his house. After all, he only lives about 10 minutes away, though it is in the opposite direction you want to go. So you go and help him unload everything and when you get home it is 6:30. Your 5 minute trip to the store for a gallon of milk took an hour and a half.
This is basically the situation that Rebekah found herself in and she went the extra mile and served wholeheartedly!
Now maybe you are an employee here today thinking, if that’s what being a Christian is all about, working my fingers to the bone for no recognition and no pay, then forget it.
Well, that may be true in the immediate sense, but that isn’t true in the eternal.
The scripture goes on to say in verse 8 that we can serve wholeheartedly because we are really serving the Lord and “because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” (Ephesians 6:8)
When we serve whole heartedly, we are storing up treasure in heaven because we are really serving the Lord.
Well you don’t know my boss!
Your right. I don’t.
It is ok to look for a new job when you are being taken advantage of. It is ok to quit a job, but understand that when you are hired to do a job, you should be doing the job, and doing it well keeping your eyes on Christ.
To do that, it is imperative that we realize who we are ultimately serving. When we do that, we are enabled and strengthened to obey, respect and serve in a way that glorifies the Lord.
Now, Paul doesn’t just speak to slaves or employees. He also has a word for the employers.
To Live Life from 9 to 5 as an Employer,
you need to Respect your employees
Paul says in verse 9 “masters, treat your slaves in the same way.”
If you are employer, you need to treat your employees with respect.
They are people too. Their sole purpose in life is not to make you rich. Yes you are hiring them to do a job and they need to do that, but don’t treat them as if you own them.
Paul was telling this to masters who actually did own their slaves.
Christ is calling you to respect your employees.
Respect their time
Respect their families.
And employers, this is not only obedience to Christ, it is good business.
Studies show that employees are much more productive and are willing to do more for employers who are respectful of them.
Listen to this from the Better Business Bureau
According to management experts the single greatest key to productivity is happy employees. …. For years, the belief was that money was the source of employee happiness and retention. While there is no question that money is important, management studies show that it does not buy employee happiness. While employees want to be fairly compensated for their efforts, they also want to be challenged and treated with respect.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following suggestions to managers for how to increase employee happiness:
• Empower workers to do the job you hired them to do. A work environment in which employees are constantly monitored, micro-managed and bossed around can be stifling. While most employees are capable of receiving empowerment, not all will seek it, however. The overriding motivation for all employees is to be treated with respect.
• Treat employees the way you would want to be treated. Think about how you would want to be informed of changes or acknowledged for a job well done. Then do the same with your employees.
From the Better Business Bureau Website accessed on 7/7/06 http://www.bbb.org/alerts/article.asp?ID=397
That sounds an awful lot like
Masters, treat your slaves in the same way (Ephesians 6:9a).
So Respect your employees.
But it doesn’t end with Respecting your employees.
The Scripture in Ephesians 6:9 goes on to say “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.”
You don’t want to be threatening to them. I believe as Christian employers that instead of being threatening,
You need to Encourage your employees
Help them to do the job better if you think it needs to be done better. Teach and train them!
Now being and encouragement to and helping equip your employees, doesn’t mean that you can’t fire someone who doesn’t do the job.
It also doesn’t mean that you can’t tell a person that they will eventually be fired if they don’t do the work that is needed.
It does mean that being threatening is not your modus operendi.
If you continually go around threatening employees to get them to perform better, you are going to find that their performance actually suffers if that is how you constantly treat them.
When people are respected and encouraged to do good work and recognized for it, they will want to continue in that.
So encourage your employees.
When they do a good job, recognize that and tell them
When something is above expectations, point it out to them and others.
In this way you will encourage all your employees to perform to the best of their ability and you will glorify the Lord in your role as an employer.
I love the Bible. The Bible not only helps us know Christ and how we can have a relationship with Him, but it is also an extremely practical book teaching us how to live in various circumstances for the glory of God and for our own good as well.
Do you believe the Bible?
Have you trusted in Jesus not only as your Savior to bring salvation into your life, but to actually help you to live life?
Maybe you haven’t even trusted Him as your Savior. If you haven’t then can’t really live the life He wants for you.
It starts with a relationship with Him.
The Bible tells us that we enter into that relationship by
Believing in Jesus as the Lord, God in the flesh
And believing in what He has done
Dying on the cross for our sins and
Resurrecting for the dead to give us life!
If you haven’t then why not turn and receive Him today. Confess your belief to Him.
If you have received Him, then praise God that you can read His word and learn better not only how to live in a way that glorifies Him but you can learn how to live life from 9 to 5 and at every other time that will bring benefit to you as well.