Speaking to Employees
In the times of Paul and Jesus, employees were bond-servants or slaves. That’s how we translate the words that begin this sentence in the Greek. Paul is speaking to people who worked for someone else. Some were voluntary and some were involuntary. If you couldn’t pay your bills, you ran up debt and then sold yourself into a relationship with an employer. This Greek word means someone who works for someone else, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.
Notice how Paul begins this section. It goes all the way back to 5:21 which we talked about yesterday. From verse 21 to here, Paul points out how we can submit ourselves to others in whatever position we’re in. However in modern times, some of the statements by Paul have been called into question. We don’t want to submit. We want to all be equals. We want to be the boss, call the shots. We’re not under or less than anyone else. So why would Paul say things like this? Why didn’t he tell all the slave owners to free all their slaves? Why didn’t Paul and Jesus make everything right?
Many people ask that question. We spend so much time talking to bosses, but notice how Paul talks to the slaves first. In fact, I believe he talks to the person in the position to submit first all the way through this section – wives then husbands, children then fathers, now slaves and masters.
For us, today, this means following Christ is very practical. Paul doesn’t focus on the ideal. Our world is broken. And we don’t have the power to fix it today. It won’t get fixed today. So what can we do today? Submit. Respect those in authority over us because we trust God. Can we trust God to that extent today? Jesus asks us to trust him with everything every day. When we do, he becomes visible. We plant a seed. And we never know what he will do.
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