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Colossians 3:22

Christian Servants

22 Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

There were servants in many of the households during the first century AD. Their obedience to the head of the household was as important to the proper function of the family as that of any other family member. The Greek word, δοῦλος doulos (dou`-los) meant someone who was (involuntarily) a slave, a bond-servant, or a voluntary, fully devoted servant who was paid for his service. The contemporary application of this verse would then be to those who are employees of any person or business.

Servants or employees are to obey their masters or employers in all things "according to the flesh." That last phrase places a limit on the servant's obligation to his master. It restricts it to worldly affairs, to the chores and duties of his position; and it eliminates any matters of conscience or religion. The servant is always to obey God rather than men, but any order that does not require him to violate God's laws or his own conscience should be obeyed.

"...not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;.." In other words, not just when your employer is watching you. When I was only 18 years old, I was in the Navy and going to school in Washington, D.C. Beside our school work, we were also assigned various chores cleaning the barracks and the grounds. I would take my coffee and cigarettes and hide in the stairwell at the far end of the hallway in the barracks. Whenever I heard someone coming, I would throw a broom over my shoulder and walk briskly down the hallway as though I had an important task to get done. When the coast was clear, I would return to my hideaway. Of course, I was not a Christian at the time, but I was the perfect example of what Paul was telling servants not to be.

Many people are perfect employees when the boss is looking, but they are not devoted to him and are quite lackadaisical when he is not around. They are menpleasers just doing eyeservice to their work. Paul was instructing the saints in Colossae to work with a singleness of heart. Focus on your work, take it seriously and do the best job you can possibly do.

Everyone, whether a slave or a well paid employee, has an obligation to do his work in the fear of the Lord. Even self-employed persons have clients to whom they are accountable and should consider themselves to be their servants. If we claim to be a Christian, everything we do reflects on the reputation of the body of Christ. Even when no one is looking, God sees us. He knows our attitude, whether we are being self-serving or working for the master with a singleness of heart. In the end, everything that is hidden will be revealed.

Before The Throne:

Think about your commitment to your work. Ask God to help you be more conscientious about your performance. Pray for those people who are employed in positions where they are unhappy. Ask the Lord to help them enjoy their work more by understanding that they can do it as though they were doing it for Him. Thank God for whatever employment or other means that He has provided for you to support yourself and your family.

For Further Study:

** obey. Col 3:20; Ps 123:2; Mal 1:6; Matt 8:9; Luke 6:46; Luke 7:8; Eph 6:5-7; 1Tim 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10; Phlm 1:16; 1Pet 2:18-19; ** menpleasers. Gal 1:10; 1Thess 2:4; ** in singleness. Matt 6:22; Acts 2:46; Eph 6:5; ** fearing. Gen 42:18; Neh 5:9, 15; Eccl 5:7; Eccl 8:12; Eccl 12:13; 2Cor 7:1;


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