More controversial passages from Paul, who is often accused of
supporting slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth, as a
reading of Paul’s letter to Philemon makes clear. In this passage,
dealing with the economic situation within the Roman empire as a
“given,” Paul counsels slaves – who made up a large portion of the
church – to serve in such a way as it would bring credit to the
church. In our modern context, it speaks to employees working honestly
and diligently, rather than in a way which causes disrepute. Note also
how Paul reminds masters that God – the master of both slave and free
– will not treat them any differently than those who were slaves!
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor
your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in
the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with
sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 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. 7 Serve wholeheartedly,
as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that
the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they
are slave or free.
9 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.
My Heavenly father, as I go to work, may I be conscious of your
presence with me. I pray for your peace, your grace, your mercy, and
your perfect order in my workplace. Help me reflect my faith in all
that will be spoken, thought, decided, and done within my workplace.
Lord, I thank you for the gifts you have blessed me with. I commit to
using them responsibly in your honor. Give me a fresh supply of
strength to do my job. May even my smallest accomplishment may bring
you glory. Lord, when I am confused guide me. When I am burned out
infuse me with the light of the Holy Spirit. May the work that I do
and the way I do it bring faith, joy, and a smile to all that I come
in contact with today.