In yesterday’s post, we considered what it means to be a Christ-centered employee. Today, let’s continue on the theme of work by focusing on the Scriptural instructions to employers: Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him (v. 9).
The apostle provides three directions to those who are privileged to own a business that employs others.
- Please God first.
Masters are to “do the same to them.” In other words, the Christ-centered employer is to have the same motive and goal as the Christian employee: to please the Lord in all that he does. The Christian employer recognizes that it is not only his employees who will give an account to God, but he will too. He who is both their Master and yours in heaven.
We are all under someone’s authority. Even the employer must answer to the Master. So, if you are an employer you should regularly ask yourself if you are pleasing God in the way you run your business. Are you honoring biblical principles above what is expedient?
- Treat your workers well.
The apostle commanded the masters to “stop threatening” their workers. Slaves were to be treated on the principle of equality; not equal in authority; but equal worth before God. Therefore, the Christ-centered employer does not abuse his power, using threats to get his employees to do what he wants. He wisely uses the authority that God’s creative order has given to him, but not in a mean manner or with a vengeful spirit.
Employers must not to unjustly use their employees. The OT prophet Malachi spoke out against this when he spoke the words of God: Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages… (Mal. 3:5). The New Testament contains a similar warning: Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts (James 5:4).
The Christ-centered employer understands that God blesses his business not merely for his own benefit, but in order to be a blessing to his employees.
- Don’t play favorites.
The Christ-centered employer should not play favorites, since there is no partiality with Him, i.e. God is not guilty of favoritism. Therefore, imitate God by not playing favorites. Have a system of just compensation, rewarding your employees as their work deserves. However, be careful you do not play favorites for other reasons. This does not mean everyone gets the same wage. Diligence should be rewarded, but laziness should not be rewarded.
As believers honor and submit to their earthly masters, and earthly masters treat their subjects with respect, God is glorified in the workplace. Martin Luther advocated a God-centered work ethic when he wrote, “Your work is a very sacred matter. God delights in it, and through it He wants to bestow His blessings on you. This praise of work should be inscribed on all tools, on the forehead and the faces that sweat from toiling.” Do you view your work as a sacred task? Your way to glorify the Lord?
In light of today’s and yesterday’s post, how are you doing? Are you working to the glory of God? Work is part of God’s creation, which He called very good. Though sin has made work more difficult, and less fulfilling, our work is redeemed in Christ. Let us strive to place Jesus at the center of our work ethic and leave Him there.
[This post is adapted from the message, Redeeming Work, preached at Cornerstone Community Church.]
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