Let’s read Ephesians 6:5-8, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free” (NASB).

In chapter 5 the Lord had given certain instructions to husbands and wives and in chapter 6 He continues to address the Christian’s household with certain exhortations. In verses 1-2 He exhorted children to “obey your parents in the Lord” and to “honor thy father and mother,” followed by a promise of long life for their obedience. In verse 4 He has a special word for fathers, “Provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” In verses 5-8 He turns to the servants of the household, for in that day it was quite common to own slaves. Eventually the spread of Christianity resulted in the end of slavery, but until then God had a very special word to give to them that would serve to encourage them and bring glory and honor to Christ. These verses could apply equally in the workplace today, for everything that is said to “slaves” can be applied to “employees” who are serving their “employer.”

In short, they were to be marked by OBEDIENCE. Just as the children in a Christian home were to obey their parents, slaves are told to obey their masters. But in each case they were to realize that the real authority they were obeying was the Lord. Children were to obey “in the Lord”; slaves were to obey “as to Christ.” They were to do this “with fear and trembling,” which simply means they were to have respect for those that were over them and a fear of displeasing both their master and the Lord. In verse 6 the Lord adds “not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Whether we think of a slave back then or an employee today, there is a tendency to obey only “when the boss is looking.” But they were to remember that they were actually “slaves of Christ,” and HE IS ALWAYS LOOKING! And just as the Lord held out a promise of reward to the children for their obedience to their parents, so He tells the Christian slave that if they “render serviceto the Lord, and not to men,” they will indeed “receive back from the Lord.” This “reward” may include a blessing in this life, but it especially looks on to the Judgment Seat of Christ as we see in 1 Corinthians 3:13-14. Those verses read “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” The Lord ends His promise of reward in verse 8 by saying, “whether slave or free,” for ALL Christians, even those who are not slaves or employees, are serving the Lord Jesus Christ and will one day stand before Him to have their service evaluated and we will indeed receive a reward if it was done for His honor and glory.  (178.8)  (DO)