Masters, 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.
(Ephesians 6:9 ESV)
Yesterday Paul told slaves who were believers to work hard for their masters because they were truly working for God. Their attitude in the face of harsh conditions would be a great witness to the people they worked for. Today Paul will address masters (e.g. employers, bosses). The relevance for us today can be applied to our professional lives.
All the things Paul just wrote about how an employee should behave also applies to employers, who should do the same to them. Bosses are to act towards their employees with the same regard for the will of God and the same recognition of the authority of Christ in their lives. Both, if they are believers (and Paul is addressing believers in this letter, not unbelievers), are working for God not themselves. As such, how they treat each other will be a witness to the non-believing world around them.
To that end employers should not issue threats to motivate employees. Rather they should lead with love and should show concern for their employees’ benefit. This will illicit reciprocal good-will from the employee. God does not dismiss the idea of authority within the workplace. But He does command mutual respect as well as fair dealings between both parties.
A business owner may not have to report to an earthly authority and may, therefore, think they can get away with anything. This was certainly true 2,000 years ago as laws and culture heavily favored owners. But everyone has a Master in heaven who sees and hears all. God is watching. When Jesus returns He will give eternal rewards to His followers based on how well we obeyed His commands [Matthew 16:27].
Back in Paul’s day those in authority may have thought that they were favored by God because they were not laborers. But that is not the case. God shows no partiality [Deuteronomy 10:17; Job 34:18-19; Acts 10:34]. He demands fairness and will bring trouble upon those who bring trouble upon others [Proverbs 17:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:6].
God’s desire for employees and employers can be summed up in the Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12 “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them”. If you are an employee be the employee you would want to have if you were an employer. If you are an employer then be the kind of employer you would want to have if you were an employee.
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