Colossian Bible Study Day 12 of 14
*before you start please read the note about biblical slavery at the bottom of this post
Read Colossians 3:18-4:1
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Colossians 3:18-4:1 (NIV)**
Wives, husbands, children, fathers, employees, and bosses all receive instructions in this passage of scripture on how to treat others. Chances are that you fall into at least one of the categories if not more.
One of the most relevant categories may be employees, and to that group of people Paul has the most to say. In verses 23-24 he writes the same thing in three different ways. We are to work as if we are working for God, not men.
When Christians’ work as if we are working for The LORD we are serving God well. We are not serving man, not companies, not family, not money, not government, not even the church. It is our job as employees to serve God by working hard and delivering our best while we are there.
This has been difficult for me, and I confess that I have especially struggled with this when I was discontent with my job. That is no excuse. I must remind myself that as I go about work this week that I do not serve my boss or a client, but God.
As employees we must trust God will deal justly with our bosses. Hopefully your boss is kind, compassionate, and a good leader who lovingly challenges you to be your best. However, if your boss is not that way or you (as a boss) are not that way, Paul has an ominous thought for that person – they also have a Master… in heaven. His name is Yahweh.
Think about your work habits. How would they change if you believed you were working for God and not man? Is anything keeping you from changing your work habits, today? If so, is that okay?
*Your translation may use the word slaves in verses 22 & 1. The slavery Paul is speaking into is very different than the early American slavery institution. Got Questions has a very good article on slavery in the bible that I encourage you to read. In the meantime please think of ‘slaves’ more along the lines of employee and ‘master’ more along the lines of boss.
**If the word submit gives you a visceral reaction, I ask that you please pray about it, read this article, and share your feelings with a trusted Christian friend.