Too often Christians think that people are looking at how they conduct themselves in worship to decide if what they have is real. Yet I’ve never met anyone who said anything about being impressed with how people conducted themselves in worship. What I do hear often is people talking about how someone acts on the job who claims to be a faithful servants of God. Time and again I’ve heard people say “If that person is a Christian I want nothing to do with it. They are lazy, always complaining and seem to always be causing some kind of trouble at their work place.”
I suspect that is the reason God addressed the subject of how Christians conduct themselves at work. In the first century most of the people worked as slaves for masters rather than as employees for employers. Look at what he said to us in Ephesians 6:5-9. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”
Notice that God led Paul to address his instructions both to the worker and the management of the company. If one is to represent Christ well on the job it matters how they act no matter what position they may hold in the company. Workers ought to respect those whom they work for and do the best job they can, serving with sincere hearts. Notice the point of working for the company as though I’m working for the Lord. Obey the boss as you would obey Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t that have an effect on everyone in a company if all Christians acted that way?
Notice he said for the worker to obey the boss, not just to win their favor when their eye is on you but doing the will of God from your heart. Have you ever been on the job and seen the boss coming your way? Did you change your pace of work? Did you stop talking to a fellow worker and get really busy as they approached? Our working should be such that whether the boss is looking or not would have no affect on our actions.
The phrase, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave of free.” A wholehearted worker is hard to find. If one is a wholehearted worker they are supportive of the company they work for and which pays their salary all along, not just when they are at work but all the time in all situations.
Perhaps the biggest point for the worker is the promise that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do. When we give our lives to the Lord He isn’t just observant of how we act at church. His eyes are on what we do in the home and family, what we do on the job, in relationships, in leisure, on the golf course or out playing with the friends. He rewards according to how we live and conduct ourselves in all situations.
When the Spirit led Paul to change his focus from the worker to the employer or Master in their circumstance, He was just as clear to him as to how he should conduct himself or herself. Being the master didn’t mean you were privileged and that God wasn’t watching their behavior. A Christian who is an employer should be the very best person to work for that one could find. It should be the case that they would always be fair, generous and caring for the people who work for them. But it would be completely wrong for a Christian working for a Christian to try to take advantage of them because they are Christians. Equally it would be wrong for the Christian employer to take advantage of the Christian who works for them.
There is no place for threatening to take place on the job from a Christian employer or employee. Why would there be no place for threatening when there is a Christian employer or employee? Because we should know that he who is both their Master and yours, is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. God isn’t impressed with who has the corner office, the biggest salary or who has their name on the door. He looks much deeper to the heart, the actions and the words of the person no matter the position. If the employer begins to think that they are the boss of the world and even God will be subject to them, they are in deep trouble and God will demonstrate their inabilities sooner or later.
Learn then to treat other people, under you, over you and next to you with consideration, kindness and compassion. Respect around the office goes a long, long way.