Ephesians 6:5–9 (ESV) 5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Pastor Chris taught on the importance of living out our identity while working. He took us back to the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, where tending it was a gift-of-work given to Adam and Eve. We’re deceived if we think work is part of the curse. In Genesis 1:28 God blessed the first humans and said, “Fill the earth and govern it.”
We can have joy in work! You are created by God to enjoy what you do. Our culture has made us think that doing what’s hard is a sin – yet, God created us for hard-work.
Studies on the generations has shown that in the 21st century modern culture is stripping away the enjoyment and appreciation of work. Dr. Tim Elmore explores how older generations can relate to, and help, the younger generations in professional development. Dr. Elmore uses the acronym SCENE to characterize how people born after 1990 have grown up:
S – Speed. (Slow is bad)
C – Convenience. (Hard is bad)
E – Entertainment. (Boring is bad)
N – Nurture. (Risk is bad)
E – Entitlement. (Labor is bad)
Our True Identity is steeped in God’s design for work. Whether we are employee or employer, we have a Christ-centered, biblical blueprint for how to relate to work and workers!
Bondservant or Slave?
“ 5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart…” Eph. 6:5-6
Four ways that someone became a slave in Roman society:
· Just – by mutual agreement between one person and another:
o Of their own choice they would put themselves into slavery
o Paying off a debt – work off the obligation, part of the society
o Sometimes slaves were previously abandoned infants – oppressed, orphans
o People were taken as prisoners of war –
“”9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine….” 1 Timothy 1:9–10 (ESV)
For a healthy example of the bondservant/master relationship in Christ, read Paul’s letter to Philemon about his disciple and bondservant Onesimus; “…more than a bondservant, for he is a beloved brother…” Philemon 1:16 (ESV)
5 Approaches to Radical Christ-Centered Living in the Workplace:
1. Respectfully (v. 5)
a. Do you respect those in authority over you?
Ephesians 6:5 (ESV)
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
2. Sincere Heart (v. 5) – singleness of heart, no ulterior motives, own it
a. Can you be trusted to do your best, even when your boss is not around?
b. What can I do to be light today, pushing back the darkness?
c. Self-motivated folks demonstrate by seeing needs and meeting needs
“6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart…” Ephesians 6:6 (ESV)
3. Conscientiously (v. 6)
a. Do you start dreaming about something different or give your all to the Lord where you are at?
Great Work Ethic:
· Punctual: ON time consistently.
· Disciplined: stay focused and put effort in to get job done.
· Productive: born to produce, we are created to do the works of God and in the workplace
· Dedicated: Beyond call of duty. Do more than asked. Integrity.
· Reliable: Be the one your boss turns to when need to get something done.
· Professional: dress, act, no inappropriate behavior.
· Respectful: Mindful of others and team unity.
4. Willing and Cheerful: (v. 7)
Do you put all your heart and soul into your work?
Ephesians 6:7 (ESV)
7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man
Ephesians 6:8 (ESV)
8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.
5. Goal: Treasure in heaven, not a paycheck. (:8)
a. Do you think about your job primarily in terms of what it will reap in this life, or in the next?
Great joy to realize that our rewards are being pushed ahead – from this life to the next.
“19Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV)
Footnote: Biblical Principles for Bosses
For those who are in authority (:9).
1. Jesus is your boss. You treat others under your authority like Jesus treats you.
a. Care for your employees.
b. Stop threatening.
c. You answer to Jesus.
1. How might you respect your boss no matter how they treat you?
What does it take to be cheerful and willing to do the work you are assigned for the day?
2. How do you suppose we can be conscientious at work – with time and money?
What is a “good work ethic?”
3. Some versions say in verse 7, “work enthusiastically for the Lord, not for people.”Why is this important for us as workers?
4. Some folks just do the minimum required, their minds wandering waiting for the next, better place/job to work. Share a time when you felt this way and what you did to change. How did God’s word and Holy Spirit guide you?
1. How do you want me to be one that brings the most honor and glory to you in my work?
2. Ask God if people can trust you to follow-through on your commitments?
3. Are you regularly praying for your boss? Commit to doing this regularly and see the positive difference it makes in your attitude and relationship to them!