6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Servanthood


Here’s what the internet has to say about “a good worker”:

A good worker is never neglectful of his duty.

A good worker is never overpaid.

A good worker is never late, nor is he early; he arrives precisely

A good worker is not enough; one must also be team player and share camaraderie with colleagues.

Losing a good worker is not only a loss for the company, but it is also expensive.

A good worker is not a good worker if he does not have good tools.

The mark of a good worker is really the attitude and not the aptitude.

A good worker is one who knows his/her job and delivers results - needing not much of supervision.

A good worker is a fresh worker.

The estimates of the percentage of the population of Italy who were slaves in the 1st century BC range from 30 to 40 percent, upwards of two to three million slaves in Italy by the end of the 1st century BCE, about 35% to 40% of Italy's population. For the Empire as a whole, the slave population has been estimated at just under five million, representing 10-15% of the total population of 50-60 million+ inhabitants. An estimated 49% of all slaves were owned by the elite, who made up less than 1.5% of the Empire's population. About half of all slaves worked in the countryside; the remainder the other half were a significant percentage 25% or more in towns and cities as domestics and workers in commercial enterprises and manufacturers. (Wikipedia, “Slavery in Ancient Rome”)

For some, the workplace is a location. For others, it is a livelihood. For many others, it is nothing more than labor. No matter how you define it, the workplace or the marketplace is not going away soon. There will always be employers and employees, chief and commoner, the masters and their masses.

What do you with a demanding employer and a disgruntled employee? Is there a line of harmony and hospitality between both? What if only one side is a believer, and what if both the parties are believers?


1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. (1 Timothy 6:1)

A monastery was going through a time of crisis. Some of the monks had left the monastery; no new candidates joined them in years; and people were no longer coming for prayer and spiritual direction as they used to. The few monks that remained became old, depressed and bitter in their relationship with one another. But, the abbot heard about a holy man; a hermit living alone in the woods and decided to consult him. He told the hermit how bad things had become and that only seven old monks remained. Praying on this, the hermit told the abbot that he has a secret for him: one of the monks currently living in his monastery was actually the Messiah, but He was living in such a way that no one could recognize Him.

With this revelation the abbot returned to his monastery, and recounted what the holy hermit told him to the community. The aging monks looked at each other in disbelief, trying to discern who among them could be the Christ. The abbot reminded them that the Messiah had adopted some bad habits as a way of disguising His true identity.

From that day the monks began to treat one another with greater respect and humility, knowing that the person they were speaking to could, in fact, be Christ. They began to show more love for one another, their common life became more brotherly and their common prayer more fervent. Slowly people began to take notice of the new spirit in the monastery and began coming back for retreats and spiritual direction. Word began to spread and, before you know it, candidates began to show up and the monastery began to grow again in number as the monks grew in zeal and holiness. http://afriarslife.blogspot.hk/2011/12/messiah-is-among-you.html

The word “worthy” is translated as “meet” (Matt 3:8) and “due reward” (Luke 23:41). Worthy implies reasonable, regular and rightful respect. “Full respect” is honor (time), or “price” (Matt 27:6), including worth or merit of dignity, duty, directions – including the master’s authority administration and accommodation. This attitude and approach go a long way to maintain, mediate and mend any tension or trouble they have.

The imperative verb “consider” is weak, with its 50-50 possibility of happening or fulfillment. It is translated stronger and stricter elsewhere as think (Acts 26:2), esteem (Phil 2:3), suppose (Phil 2:25), judge (Heb 11:11), count (2 Peter 2:13) and account (2 Peter 3:15). It implies hold in high regard, to respect, recognize and reassure them, and not to react, retaliate or reduce them in your eyes.

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