Eph 6:5-7 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men …

Paul has addressed the relationships within in the family and now goes on to address the relationships between slave and master. While it is unlikely that you are a slave, the lessons that can be learnt from this apply to any work relationship.

Being a slave (bondservants) was the lowest position in society in Paul’s time and could be very unpleasant. There could be many reasons that could make a slave resentful and bitter about their situation, but being like this does no good and only weakens the person who is bitter. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, we should accept that God knows and will be with us, strengthen us and encourage us however bad our situation. In His own time, He may choose to deliver us from the place we find ourselves, but it will be at His own timing and ultimately for good. Joseph is the classic example of God’s deliverance in such circumstances . Initially, he was his father’s most beloved son; a most wonderful position. However, he was forced into slavery against his will by his jealous brothers. Having become a slave, things became worse not better because he was thrown into prison due to false accusation. A possibility of deliverance arose, but seemed to fail. But two years later and quite miraculously and at the perfect time, Joseph was promoted to being prime minister of Egypt. Whatever your work situation, you should accept what God has for you at present, avoid bitterness and look to Him for a change of circumstances in His timing. His timing will be perfect!

The second crucial lesson that we all must learn from this section, regards our attitude to the work that we do. The most important lesson to learn is that whatever we do, we should do it unto the Lord. Our principle master is the Lord, himself. Paul loves to describe himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, even though he had been born a free man, because he knew that his master in Heaven was utterly gracious. What are you doing this week? Whatever it is, do it as to the Lord. Your primary concern is that He is pleased with what you do. If we do this, it is likely that our masters (employers) on earth will also be pleased with our work, but that is secondary to our primary objective, which is to please the Lord. Whether we receive proper recognition and reward from our earthly masters will be less important to us, because we know that the Lord will reward us for our diligence.

In the work that you have, who do you serve first? An employer on this earth, or the Lord Jesus Christ?