February 11, 2016

A New Pattern of Work: Who Is Boss?

Ephesians 6:1-9

He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven.

—  Ephesians 6:9

Ephesians 6 shows us how we are called to work as though our labor is for Jesus himself. But there’s more. Many of us have people who are responsible to us: we may be district managers, business owners, stay-at-home parents, or teachers. How we use or abuse our power in our workplace says a great deal about how we grasp the gospel. Paul’s message to the Ephesians has significant implications for us today.

In a time when it was assumed that masters could treat their servants with indifference at best and cruelty at worst, the gospel of Jesus leveled the playing field. Under the care and authority of Jesus, master and servant stood on equal footing because both were in fact fellow servants of Jesus Christ.

Today, Christian employers are called to treat their workers with dignity and kindness. This principle applies whether we have two people working for us—or two thousand. If we have to discipline an employee, we will do so with a gentle spirit. Or if we have a say in who is promoted and who is not, we will do all we can to be fair.

Knowing that we ultimately report to a greater boss, let’s do all we can to manage our em­ployees as though we are serving Jesus himself.

Lord and Master, in our places of work or service, teach us to lead and manage as though we are serving you. Keep us from using our positions for selfish gain, and show us how to lead to the glory of God. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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