Skip to main content
Business Services > The Baptist Record
> Current Edition > Bible Studies for Life
with Becky Brown
The deadline for filing your 2013 tax forms is five weeks away. As you gather
paperwork for the task, you will see check stubs from your workplace bearing the signature of your boss.
If you purpose to obey the teachings of Paul in Ephesians 6, the name of your boss is not Daddy Warbucks. Your boss is Jesus. At home, with family, in church and at the workplace our ultimate authority is Jesus. Keeping Jesus first in all of the arenas of life brings balance and peace. Although the name of Jesus will not appear anywhere on your pay check, the work you perform each day is a clear demonstration of your relationship to Him.
As we discovered last week in the book of Genesis, work is a gift from God, not a curse. Work allows us to
join Him in accomplishing the plan of God. Working “from the heart as unto Christ” transforms our jobs into a
meaningful part of our worship of God. In clear perspective, “work” is best represented by the word “service.”
Ephesus was one of the towns Paul loved dearly. He spent much time there during his ministry years. In Acts
chapters 18-20, we read the complete story of his relationship with this beloved church in Asia Minor. As he
closed his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul emphasized the major relationships in our lives: husbands
and wives, parents and children, workers and employers. Each relationship was characterized by how each
party relates to Christ above all. God established the home and family as a picture of Christ and His
church. In the same way, it was the desire of God that we also reflect Christ in the workplace.
The workplace in Paul’s day included the institution of slavery. Our purpose here is not to argue that the
bible condones the practice of slavery through this passage of scripture. Truly, slavery is wrong on any
level. Our modern day plague of human trafficking stands as proof that the blight of slavery is alive and
well. Paul was not approving of slavery. Paul was making sure that those who were slaves were working “from
the heart as unto Christ.” In the same way, Paul was also encouraging masters to work “from the heart as unto
Christ.” In Paul’s day there were believers who were slaves and there were believers who were masters of
slaves. Can you imagine the joy that would result if husbands and wives and children and workers and
employers followed this teaching?
Paul was writing to the Ephesians from Rome as a prisoner for Christ. Paul opens most of his New Testament
letters by calling himself a “doulos” which is the Greek word for slave/servant. If we looked at all of life
through the lens of servanthood, we could begin to grasp the true perspective God desires us to possess.
I like to think of it this way: every person who serves Christ is a slave to Christ, but a freed slave who
serves as a bondservant. A bondservant was a slave who had been set free after prescribed years of
faithful service. This slave freely chose to remain in service to his master. The description of a
bondservant is found in Deuteronomy 15:12-15. The bondservant chose to stay because of his love for his
master. We were formerly slaves (servants) of our sin. Now, we are free to be servants (slaves) of Christ.
No, I have never met your employer. Maybe he makes the Pharaoh of Egypt qualify to be nominated as
Tender-Hearted Man of the Year. I will promise to pray for your strength as you deal with that very
difficult situation. Meanwhile, serve “from the heart as unto Christ.” Maybe you are unemployed through no
fault of your own. Find a place where you can volunteer and continue to use the gifts God has given you
until something concrete opens up. Maybe you are the master employer of your workplace. Treat your
employees well. You may THINK you are the Top Dog, but even you have a boss in Heaven and He requires
end of life evaluation forms for you to complete as well.
In The Revelation 2:1-7, John records news about seven churches. The first one mentioned is Ephesus,
these friends of Paul. They had “left their first love.” Their first love was Jesus. For us to work as
faithful servants, we must always remember who’s boss.
Brown is staff evangelist at First Church, Richland