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 favour 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, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Eph 6:5-7
It’s sobering to think that these verses were part of a letter written at a time when slavery was a big issue under the Roman Empire. Those Romans didn’t mess around; you really would not want to be their slave. If you want to know what they were like exactly, just watch the Passion of the Christ and watch how the soldiers treat Jesus and that will give you an idea of the kind of approach they had. If these verses applied to them under that kind of tyranny, how much more to us who live in a significantly freer world?
There are two things I would like us to draw out of this passage. Firstly our call is not to work hard and be loyal when someone has their eye on us, but to realise that we are working ultimately for God and his eye is always on us. Secondly, whether you are a once-a-week volunteer on no salary or a full-time salaried employee in the corporate world, the key word for you is SERVE! A servant heart, honour, punctuality, faithfulness, integrity, diligence, hard work. These apply to all of us wherever we are serving or employed. This is what God expects of us, as well as our boss or leader. Let us cultivate and display these qualities willingly and joyfully.