Everyone Serves Somebody
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.
Ephesians 6:7–9 NIV Read More
This part is wrapping up the section of Paul talking about how we should treat each other in the Body of Christ. He has written very directly about family relationships and now he addresses the other structures within a household – namely slaves. Slavery was a common part of life in those days. It was taken for granted just like people going to work today.
The emphasis here is to continually consider the Lord as you interact with each other. Consider the Lord as your work for your master, slaves, because the Lord will reward you for the work you do for Him much more than your master will ever reward you for your work. Every activity we put our hand to in some way expresses what we are thinking about the Lord at that time. If we aren’t serving the Lord in what we do, we are often serving ourselves: looking for the easy way out, justifying our own actions, or not caring and letting apathy win out.
Everyone serves somebody, Han.
Paul tells masters not to treat their slaves poorly and with threats because they have a master in heaven. That sounds kind of like a threat! It is, a little bit. At the same time, considering the context of where Paul has been pointing us, masters are again sent to look at the example of Christ (just like husbands and wives and children were earlier). Christ doesn’t show favoritism between masters and slaves. He doesn’t regard one person better than another. At the same time, He is going to reward each person according to whatever good they do. This transforms serving from a slave/master relationship to a vassal/king relationship.
Imagine serving a king with no favoritism, but only rewards for doing good. Imagine an all-powerful benevolent ruler (not with irony and violence like in the movies) but one that really cares about you. From the humble state of being loved by such a king without favoritism and without competition, we can serve God in joy and in peace. We can pour our whole heart into effort for the King, because He is worthy and loves us more than the things we do. Remember Ephesians 2:10 where it says that We are God’s work?
Knowing that we are the work of God, we can pour ourselves wholeheartedly into the work that God gives us. He will help and work in us, and even reward us for the work that He gives us to do. He will even reward us for the work that He does in us! That is grace that in turn makes us lay down even more of our labor for Him.
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