Who Are You Serving?
Read Colossians 3:22-25 (ESV)
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
Who would you consider to be your “earthly masters” in today’s context?
Our society today has a major authority problem. Many children do not obey their parents, employees want to make the rules instead of the employers, school leaders deal with students who refuse to comply and parents who defend their disobedient children, people pulled over for minor traffic violations disregard the authority of the police, on and on. As a result, there is chaos out there. But God is not a God of chaos. He is a God of order. And that is why the Bible repeatedly shows us God’s good design for authority.
In today’s passage, Paul addresses those who are under authority—bondservants or slaves. It is important to note that the Bible does not advocate for slavery. Slavery was a reality in society at that time and the early church needed to know how to reflect Christ within that institution. So, Paul gave the Colossians instructions to regulate the practice of slavery within the early church and the first regulation was that slaves should obey their earthly masters.
But how can we relate to this today? The workplace. Most of us are either in the position of employee, employer, or both. In today’s context, those who are employees should obey their earthly supervisors because their supervisors have been put in a place of authority over them. The employee will be held responsible for disobedience and the employer will be accountable for how they lead (as we’ll discuss tomorrow). In verse 25, Paul said that there isn’t any partiality. Whoever is in the wrong will be disciplined no matter what their position or rank.
Paul also gives us a good reason to obey this command from God. He says that we aren’t to obey our bosses simply to please them. We are to obey our earthly masters because our heavenly Master told us to. We should be motivated by our desire to obey and please the Lord, not men. We are to obey the Lord in all things.
Paul also addressed our work attitudes. Do we grumble and gripe as we perform our duties? Do we do the bare minimum just to comply and then check out for the day? If so, this is not how we are called to behave. As Christians, we are to reflect the servant heart of Jesus. We should be sincere, diligent, and “work heartily.” That means that we should put our whole hearts into the task instead of giving a half-hearted effort. Paul encourages us to remember that while we might get paid or promoted or recognized here on earth for our work that is well done, our real reward will be from the Lord.
Friends, who are you serving? People or the Lord? What is your motivation for the work that you do? What is your attitude towards work? I encourage you to do a heart check evaluating these things today. As Christians, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of our witness for Christ in the workplace. The best way to reflect Him at work is to serve the way that He served when He walked this earth—humbly, whole-heartedly, and obedient to God.
Lord, thank You for being a God of order. I know you have put authority structures in place to avoid disorder and chaos. It is for our good. But I confess that sometimes I balk at authority and want to be my own boss or grumble my way through my work. Remind me that I am serving You, Lord, not man. Help me to work humbly and whole-heartedly just as You did. Amen.