Who’s the Boss?
Read Colossians 4:1 (ESV)
Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Who is under your authority? How can you apply this verse to how you treat those you are in charge of?
Have you ever had a bad boss? One who mistreated his or her employees or took advantage of them? Who had unreasonable expectations and lacked compassion and empathy for those in their charge? If you have, I am sorry. Leadership isn’t supposed to be that way. The Bible teaches a better way.
In today’s verse, Paul addressed slave masters. Now, as we discussed yesterday, slavery was a reality in the time of the early church but that doesn’t mean it was condoned by God. Paul did urge slaves to submit to their masters because they are in authority over them. But, as with all positions of authority, being a slave master did not mean that you could treat your slaves however you wanted. In fact, Paul reminded slave masters that they had better treat their slaves justly and fairly because they are slaves themselves. That’s right, as Christians, we are all slaves of Christ. That is what we are signing up for when we submit to His authority over us as our “Lord.”
In fact, Paul opened many of his letters by introducing himself as a slave or servant of Christ (Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1). James, Peter, and Jude introduced themselves as servants of Christ at the beginning of their letters as well (James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, and Jude 1:1). The apostles understood that when they committed their lives to Christ that they were submitting to His authority. Jesus Christ became their Lord and Master so they sought to do His will.
Paul’s point in today’s verse is that because you are also a slave, you should treat the slaves in your care the way that you would want to be treated—with fairness and justice. Remember, right before this passage about how Christian households should operate, Paul had said that in Christ, all distinctions and social barriers between people were broken down. He specifically said that spiritually speaking, “there is no slave or free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). So while in society, slaves and masters are not considered equals, in Christ they are!
Thankfully, slavery is no longer acceptable or legal in our society. But we can apply today’s verse to employers or anyone in a position of authority. You may be a boss or in a management position and have people who answer to you every day at work. How you treat those people matters. Not only is it obedient to the Word, but it also reflects the character of Christ to those in your workplace and is a powerful witness to others.
Friends, Christ is our Master and He is perfectly just. Therefore, we should be fair to those we are in charge of. Can you imagine how the workplace environment would change if all employees joyfully submitted to their bosses and all bosses treated everyone with fairness, dignity, and respect? It would be a total game changer!
Lord, thank You for being a just and fair master of my life. Please help me to reflect your character to the people that I am in authority over. Amen.