by Greg Weston
During the New Testament era slavery was common. This is the reason Paul addressed the slavery issue in his letters to individuals and congregations. What a person will not find in the Bible, however, is an absolute, plainly stated opposition to the institution of slavery. What we find instead is instruction on how the slave and the master were to behave, how they were to 'work'. While we are very grateful that slavery is not a part of our society, there is great profit in the instructions Paul gives. Our work ethic is tremendously improved when we conform to these inspired instructions.
Employers, masters in the context, are responsible to the Lord for their treatment of those under their supervision and in their employ. "Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven" (Col. 4:1). God expects each employer to demonstrate justice and fairness toward their employees. Carefully consider the work required, the conditions of the work and the pay given when you contemplate these two words: just and fair. Paul's letter to Ephesus includes an even more personal consideration in the work of supervision (Eph 6:6-9). Think carefully how you treat those under your oversight. The golden rule (Mt. 7:12) is always a good measure to consider. Christians should be the best 'bosses' a person can find.
Employees, servants in the context, have a responsibility to their employers - and toward the Lord. In fact, one of the chief notes of Paul is that we are to work as if we were working for the Lord himself, which is the truth (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:23). Employees are to work sincerely and heartily. A common phrase is "an honest day's labor for a day's pay!" He also emphasized that we will not only receive from our employer, but the good or evil we do will be recompensed by the Lord. Christians should be the best workers and employer can find!
Our Christian life is greater than the world's standard in every way. In each of our roles in life we will answer to the Lord for how we do it. And, when we follow the plan of God we glorify him and receive good from him. In the workplace, be faithful to your task and to the Lord.