Summary: Servants and Masters
SERVANTS AND MASTERS (EPHESIANS 6:5-9)
1. faithful and wise servant Matt 24:45
2. good and faithful servant Matt 25:21, 23
3. servant of all Mark 10:44
4. good servant Luke 19:17
5. servant of Jesus Christ Rom 1:1
6. Christ's servant 1 Cor 7:22, Gal 1:10 Col 4:12
7. servants to righteousness Rom 6:19
8. servants for Jesus' sake 2 Cor 4:5
9. servants of Jesus Christ Phil 1:1, Jude 1
10. servant of the Lord 2 Tim 2:24
2. evil servant Matt 24:48
3. wicked and slothful servant Matt 25:26
4. unprofitable servant Matt 25:30
5. servant of sin John 8:34, Rom 6:17, 20
6. servants to uncleanness Rom 6:19
7. servants of men 1 Cor 7:23
8. servants of corruption 2 Peter 2:19
The Bible casts servants in positive and negative light. The positive and approved ones are listed as:
1. faithful and wise servant (Matt 24:45)
2. good and faithful servant (Matt 25:21, 23)
3. servant of all (Mark 10:44)
4. good servant (Luke 19:17)
5. servant of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:1)
6. Christ's servant (1 Cor 7:22, Gal 1:10 Col 4:12)
7. servants to righteousness (Rom 6:19)
8. servants for Jesus' sake (2 Cor 4:5)
9. servants of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:1, Jude 1)
10. servant of the Lord (2 Tim 2:24)
The negative and accused ones are labeled as:
2. evil servant (Matt 24:48)
3. wicked and slothful servant (Matt 25:26)
5. servant of sin (John 8:34, Rom 6:17, 20)
6. servants to uncleanness (Rom 6:19)
7. servants of men (1 Cor 7:23)
8. servants of corruption (2 Peter 2:19)
What kind of attitude, relationship and conduct do slaves and masters, employers and employees, supervisors and subordinate ought to have?? How can we glorify God in our work, no matter you are a superior or a subordinate?
Your Responsibility is to God
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 as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
Sophie, the scrub woman, was a Christian. One of the gentlemen in the large building where she worked said to her, ¡§Say, Sophie, I understand that you are a Christian.¡¨ ¡§Yes, sir, I am a child of the King,¡¨ was her immediate reply.
¡§Oh! So you must be a princess, since God is your King.¡¨ ¡§I sure am.¡¨
¡§Well, if God is your Father, and you are a princess and a child of the King, do you not think that it is beneath your dignity to be found here in New York City scrubbing these dirty steps?¡¨ Not being daunted Sophie replied, ¡§There is no humiliation whatsoever. You see, I am not scrubbing these steps for my boss, Mr. Brown. I am scrubbing them for Jesus Christ, my Savior!¡¨ (from Illustrations of Bible Truths # 118)
The word ¡§slaves/servants¡¨ occurs three times in five short verses (vv 5, 6, 8). Servants have a double identity, servants (v 5) and servants of Christ (v 6). Their job at hand is to serve their masters, but their joy in life, however, is to serve the Lord. The verb ¡§obey¡¨ (hupakouo) is an imperative. It comes from two words, the prefix ¡§under¡¨ (hupo) and the verb ¡§akouo¡¨ or ¡§hear.¡¨ In both passages where servants are commanded to obey the Lord, it is always after the imperative for children to obey their parents (Eph 6:1, Col 3:20), so it is not a harsh, horrible or hurtful thing to do.
Technically ¡§obey¡¨ means to ¡§hear¡¨ + ¡§under¡¨ someone. It is an arrangement, an attitude and an awareness rather than ability, authority or aristocracy. To hear means respect, respond and regard in contrast to reject, retaliate or revere. Your ¡§masters¡¨ are plural, in contrast to the ¡§Lord¡¨ who is singular, but the word is the same in Greek. They are your superiors and supervisors, but they are not superior or supermen.
Earthly masters (v 5) are contrasted with Master in heaven (v 9). Respect and fear (v 5) is fear and trembling in most versions (KJV, NASB, RSV, ESV). Fear and trembling is an attitude. Fear is on the inside but trembling appears on the outside. The point is to be dutiful, distinguished, dignified and disciplined, and not discourteous, disrespectful, or distressed either.
The noun ¡§heart¡¨ appears twice in verse 5 and 6, ¡§sincerity of heart¡¨ and ¡§doing the will of God from your heart.¡¨ The noun sincerity is translated as simplicity (Rom 12:8), liberality (2 Cor 8:2), bountifulness (2 Cor 9:11) and singleness (Eph 6:5). It can mean one (singleness) and plenty (bountifulness).