Summary: God has a work for us.
Words Of Wisdom For The Work Place
Introduction: “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” The question is what do you do when you get there? Today’s workforce is consumed with what some have called “occupational frustration”. Many are just not happy with their work or job. How is a Christian supposed to relate to work? Your work doesn’t have to be a burden, it can be a blessing.
God has a work for us. The Christian faith ought to have a profound impact on the way we walk (4:1; 5:15), wed (5:22-33), and work! God has called us to a high, holy and honorable way of life.
Now note the context in which Paul wrote. He writes to “slaves” and “masters”. Slavery was a common practice in the first century. It has been estimated that between one-third and one-half of the population of the Roman Empire consisted of slaves. Many of them were members of the early Christian churches. Some have criticized Paul for not addressing and condemning slavery, but in reality he did. He did so through the Gospel which would ultimately destroy this terrible blot on society and give liberty which shackles could not hold and tyranny could not suppress.
Because slavery is unacceptable today, we would apply this scripture in another vernacular. The most natural would be the relationship of employers and employees. Let’s apply these words of wisdom concerning work to our lives.
I. The Rules Of Engagement (6:5-7)
Demonstrate your faith by how you go about your work. Shoddy workmanship is a poor
reflection on Christianity. Our work ethic should never equate mediocrity with God. When it comes to our work it should be:
A. Governed By Honesty (v.5) Pay close attention to Paul’s wording. The words “respect and fear” convey specific ideas. “Fear” means with a serious intent to please. “Respect” means the honor their position deserves. Discharge your duties with an anxious care not to come up short. Do more, not less, than what is expected of you. Have a sense of responsibility, eager to leave no duty undone. Some do only enough to get by. Some spend more time trying to get out of work than actually working. Jerome K. Jerome said, “I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours!”
All of this is to be done with “sincerity of heart”. This means without pretense,
or pretending to work. Devote your full energy to the job at hand, (see Col. 3:23). Give it all you’ve got. And do it all “unto Christ”. Our work should be of such good quality that we would not be ashamed to show it to Jesus! The final product should be good enough to show it to God. Elton Trueblood wrote, “Deliberate mediocrity is a heresy and a sin.” If we don’t give our best we may one day receive a note like the one attached to one employee’s paycheck which read, “Your salary will become effective as soon as you do.”
B. Guided By Hardiness (v.6) We are to do our best – at all times. We are to do our best consistently. Don’t work just when you’re being watched by the manager. Whether or not he sees us, the Master (Jesus) sees us!
C. Given By Happiness (v.7) The idea here is the right attitude and spirit. Here is one who does his work joyfully, not grudgingly. He does so with a happy spirit. “Whole-heartedly” means out of the soul with cheerfulness.
Proverbs 14:23 states, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to
poverty.” What are the profits? You get to provide for your family, penetrate the marketplace, promote the kingdom, provide for others and please the Lord. That’s some pretty good profits wouldn’t you say?
II. The Reason For Employment (6:8)
Why should my routine be governed by honesty, guided by hardiness and given by
happiness? Let me give you two reasons.
A. Your Relationship (v.5-7) Your manager may not see you but your Master does. Note the word “know”. God knows as well.
B. Your Reward (v.8) Good work will be rewarded by His grace. You never do a good work in vain. Good deeds have a way of coming back to us. We might not be compensated in this life, but the Lord will provide future rewards for faithful service.
III. The Responsibility Of The Employer (6:9-10)
Paul has a word here for the employers. Here is some bread for the boss; some fodder
for the former; a mandate for the managers. You who are in charge, chew on this. You have some responsibilities also. Pay particular attention to:
A. The Manner Of Your Authority (v.9) Seek their welfare. Don’t exploit them. Be sensitive to their needs. You expect the best from them, then give them your best. Do it consistently with the right attitude.