The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to the city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini’s lovely violin has tod … More
It is estimated that one half of the world’s population or 60 million people were slaves in Paul’s day. They were often looked on almost as cattle by the slave owner, however the message of salvation appealed to a slave and many of them became believers. With this in mind Paul is telling the slaves to maintain an attitude of respect as a testimony to their unbelieving masters (vv. 1-2). If a master is a Christian they should give even better respect to him. The danger was that a Christian slave who had found liberty in Christ might be tempted to have less respect for his unbelieving master then he should and this might give him an excuse to destroy his master. Paul gives instructions for Timothy to pass on to slaves about how they were to serve in the work place and honor their masters. Our obedience or disobedience to God’s direction in the work place will be seen by others.
In Paul’s culture there was a great social and legal gulf separating masters and slaves. But as Christians, masters and slaves became spiritual equals, brothers and sisters in Christ (Gal. 3:28). Paul did not speak against the institution of slavery, but he gave guidelines for Christian slaves and Christian masters. For the Church to have encouraged slaves to revolt against their masters would have been fatal. It would have simply caused civil war, mass murder, and the complete discredit of the Church. Paul’s council for the master/slave relationship can be applied to the employer/employee relationship today. Employees should work hard, showing respect for their employers. In turn employers should be fair (Eph. 6:5-9). Our work should reflect our servant attitude. Paul gave three reasons why Christian slaves should show respect for their believing masters: (1)Their masters are Christians, (2) their masters are beloved and (3) both master and servant benefit from obedience.
It is important for me to have high respect for those I work for and especially if they are a Christian. I want to always be a hard worker and give an honest day of work to any employer.
Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.
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