Layout
Discuss

Employer/Employee Relationship

Notes Outline
WORK AS WITNESS
THE GOSPEL SHAPES HOW WE RELATE TO OTHERS
CONCLUSION

WORK AS WITNESS

  • In light of the gospel (eternal judgment, resurrection of the dead, restoration of creation) the summon given to Jesus’ followers is to lay down their life. In the workplace this call affects the way we work and relate to others.
  • Our conduct at work is a witness to those around us. Our ethic, drive, and motivation are shaped by the gospel.

“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (ESV1 Thess. 4:11, 12)

 “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” (NIVEphesians 4:28)

“For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” For we hear that there are some among you who walk irresponsibly, not working at all, but interfering with the work of others. Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ that quietly working, they may eat their own food.” (HCSB2 Thessalonians 3:7-12)

THE GOSPEL SHAPES HOW WE RELATE TO OTHERS

  • Slaves to Masters (Employer/Employees) 

A particular difficulty is presented when words in biblical Hebrew and Greek refer to ancient practices and institutions that do not correspond directly to those in the modern world. Such is the case in the translation of ‘ebed (Hebrew) and doulos (Greek), terms which are often rendered “slave.” These terms, however, actually cover a range of relationships that require a range of renderings—either “slave,” “bondservant,” or “servant”—depending on the context. Further, the word “slave” currently carries associations with the often brutal and dehumanizing institution of slavery in nineteenth-century America. For this reason, the ESV translation of the words ‘ebed and doulos has been undertaken with particular attention to their meaning in each specific context. Thus in Old Testament times, one might enter slavery either voluntarily (e.g., to escape poverty or to pay off a debt) or involuntarily (e.g., by birth, by being captured in battle, or by judicial sentence). Protection for all in servitude in ancient Israel was provided by the Mosaic Law. In New Testament times, a doulos is often best described as a “bondservant”—that is, as someone bound to serve his master for a specific (usually lengthy) period of time, but also as someone who might nevertheless own property, achieve social advancement, and even be released or purchase his freedom. The ESV usage thus seeks to express the nuance of meaning in each context. Where absolute ownership by a master is in view (as in Romans 6), “slave” is used; where a more limited form of servitude is in view, “bondservant” is used (as in 1 Corinthians 7:21-24); where the context indicates a wide range of freedom (as in John 4:51), “servant” is preferred. Footnotes are generally provided to identify the Hebrew or Greek and the range of meaning that these terms may carry in each case. (Preface to the ESV; The Translation Oversight Committee)

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong he has done, and there is no favoritism. (HCSBColossians 3:22-25)

Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ. (HCSBEphesians 6:5)

“Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. For it brings favor if, mindful of God’s will, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if you sin and are punished, and you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God. For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.” (HCSB1 Peter 2:18-21)

 Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. (NLTTitus 2:9, 10)

Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants 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. (ESV1 Timothy 6:1, 2)

  • Masters to Slaves—Those in authority are to look out for the interests and wellbeing of those under them and resist using them for their own selfish gain. They are to provide what is just and fair, without threatening them.

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ ” (NIVMatthew 20:25-28)

 “And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.” (HCSBEphesians 6:9)

 “Masters, supply your slaves with what is right and fair, since you know that you too have a Master in heaven.” (HCSBColossians 4:1)

 “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” (NIVJames 5:4, 5)

CONCLUSION

  • The Day of the Lord is coming, the age to come is at hand, we are going to stand before the Lord and give an account for our lives. Our work and careers are not our ultimate purpose, but instead one of our greatest opportunities in our life to make God’s message known not only in word, but in our day to day actions.

“What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (NIV1 Corinthians 7:29-31)