Colossians 3:22 – 4:1
What are principles for Christian working relationships? Regardless of employment positions, Christians are to bring unity within the church body.
This passage of scripture mirrors that of Ephesians 6:7-8. Paul does not censure nor support slavery; however, he teaches that Christ rises above all divisions between individuals. Slaves are advised to work sincerely like their lord is Christ himself, yet masters are to be fair and just.
Paul explicitly says that this submission and/or obedience is not intended to be “to look good or for show” as it were. Shallow work, done just when the master is watching, is the sort of work done by a “people-pleaser” as opposed to someone who is a God-pleaser. Nor is it simply expected to meet the absolute minimum necessities of the expert. The Christian bondservant was to serve “with genuineness of heart, dreading the Lord.” And the servant is to “do it heartily,” work with all your heart. God sees what is in the heart and what motivates us. The reasonable point is that the bondservant should work for God’s greatness.
In Paul’s day and time, bondservants were not qualified for any legacy from an affluent relative. From a material angle, these slaves had little to anticipate throughout everyday life. However, Paul empowers them with an update that this human life is not the place where their genuine rewards will be given. God’s inheritance, our unceasing abode with him, will far surpass the preliminaries and impediments of this life. Paul stressed for the evidence in the lives of readers, on things above instead of the day-by-day worries of life.
Paul finishes up this instructing with a reference to the bondservant’s actual master: Jesus Christ. Even the lowliest slave, when they acknowledge faith in Christ, turns into a worker of the best individual known to man. There could be no higher honor or advantage. With this viewpoint, an abused worker can live with bliss, knowing that his actual Master and the everlasting happiness that he anticipates.
After offering guidelines to bondservants, Paul noted that all men would be given a fair judgment by God. Considering that, Paul here cautions masters to be reasonable in their dealings with their workers. This was in opposition to the social standard of Colossae and most other old urban communities. Although abuse may have been socially satisfactory, it was not appropriate for a believer in Christ. This order to “treat your bondservants fairly and justly” is reliable with the numerous lessons of the Old Testament to treat workers well, notwithstanding Christ's accentuation on “loving your neighbor as yourself.”
All Christians serve the same Lord and Savior, or so we should be. How we individually serve Christ is based upon our relationship and our commitment to Him. Which in tum, can determine how we think we are to be right and fair to those we are responsible for and will also affect the way we serve those over us or those we may oversee.
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