1 Timothy 6:1-2
6 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort
Paul now turns his attention to servants and their masters. One could read this and wonder how it applies to today’s world. One of the things we have to realize is that, in Paul’s time, there were not companies who hired employees to work for them. Each man worked at his own trade or they were apprentices or servants of others. From what I read the word employee is from the French word “employé” and started to be used in the US around 1850 to describe one who works for another. But isn’t a servant one who works for another? I would say that today’s employee is similar to Paul’s servant in these verses, and thus the admonition he gives here is very relevant, and also very ignored!
I have worked for many different “masters” or bosses and supervisors over the years. I have also been in that position myself. One of the things that always drove me crazy was the number of employees who would put down, disparage, mock and ridicule their bosses behind their backs. I saw a never ending stream of this at one company where I worked for twenty years, I have to admit I was even guilty occasionally. I would put my boss down for always being late om everything. I remember times we didn’t even leave the office until after the meeting we had 30 minutes away was supposed to start. She was impossible when it came to timetables. She was also a wild driver. She would have the phone in one hand, a pencil in the other taking notes and her leg on the steering wheel. Oh my, it was a wild ride on occasion.
No matter what she was like, the word of God says I should honor her. Do you have a boss that is hard to honor? I gave honor to her because she was my boss (and a part owner of the company) and because she deserved it most of the timer. Sure she had her quirks, but don’t we all? What gives me the right to disobey God’s word and hold back the honor that my supervisor deserves? There is no justification for dishonoring a master, or boss, or supervisor, or in my case a coordinator. I sell Aflac insurance. I am an independent agent. I am not employed and assigned tasks on a day to day basis. I make my own business happen. But I do have a Coordinator who helps guide me if I have questions. I am supposed to report numbers to her on a weekly, and sometimes daily, frequency. If I do not give these numbers to her, I am dishonoring her. I am refusing to do what she has asked me to do.
Paul then shares that if the person who is our master, (boss, supervisor, coordinator) is a believer in Christ then this principal of honor should be carried out without any hostility or anger toward them. He says “do not despise” which means do not get angry at their ways or resentful of their position. We should never be seen saying “I could do a better job then them” or “What a rotten decision that was.” Instead, we should be lifting them up and making them feel like our master, not just some other employee.. The reason for all this honor is simple. If we are showing dishonor to our supervisor by saying unkind things, that ruins our Christians testimony. It shows people that we are no better the world in the way we treat our superiors. We grumble and complain just as good as everyone else, even though the Bible tells us we should not grumble and complain (Philippians 2:14)! This is something the Christian community needs to work on – big time!
I see people who have gone to my church, or those I know are committed Christians, showing a lack of honor to their masters every day it seems. How can we be so naïve to think that God would look the other way? Doesn’t the word say in one place that when we do something to the least of those around us, it is the same as doing it for Christ (Matthew 25:40)? If that be the case, would you so talk about Jesus that way, or do such things behind His back? I hardly think so. I hope that you would show Jesus extreme honor as our Savior and Lord. And we should do the same to those we serve. God has put me in the role I am in. he has put those people in authority over me whom he thinks will help me be successful and who will teach me the lessons I need to learn. Why would I ever even think of showing dishonor to this one who guides my career?
How do we show honor to these masters of ours? There are several ways to show honor and most of them are right in the Bible! God doesn’t leave us single handed to try and figure this out ourselves. Let me share a few of the ways we can show honor.
1) Pray for those in authority over us (1 Timothy 1:2-3) We discussed this verse a few months ago (I have been slow in writing this blog). I know a lot of people hate Donald Trump, and a lot of people hated Barak Obama before him. Completely different crowd of haters. I wonder how many stopped complaining and started praying under either one. True, they are not our masters. But they are our leaders, whether we like them or not. They deserve honor and respect no matter what side of the aisle you are on. Our masters at work are the same way. They need our prayers every day. Maybe then we would change so that we would give them the honor God asks us to give to them.
2) Speak gracefully about them (Ephesians 4:29). Our mouths can be sewers, repositories for all things unclean. Way to often we allow ourselves to be overtaken by the enemies voice, who speaks to us things that are hurtful and abusive. We, in turn, bring those thoughts up from the depths of our heart to attack those around us, including our masters. All manner of corrupt communication comes out which is exactly what this verse tells us not to do. That is never God speaking. God speaks in words of grace, love and mercy. He speaks faith, not doubt. He speaks life, not death. What will you speak?
3) Be kind (Romans 12:10) Our world is running away from kindness. People want to be able to advance their agenda and they don’t care who they have to run over to do it. Etiquette has gone out the window. Please and thank you are a lost art, especially among our youth. We tell someone to do something instead of asking politely. Being kind is something that will show Christ to others about as fast as anything will. It shows others that we care about them and want what is best for them. It shows honor and respect for the other person. Be kind!
4) Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you (Matthew 7:12). The most basic of all human rules yet we miss it so much. If you were the boss how would you want to be treated? You will probably answer that question by saying I would want to be honored, respected, followed and regarded highly by my employees. If that is what you would want then why aren’t you doing that? That is the basic heart of the matter. Apply the golden rule to everything you do and say. Ask yourself constantly “Would I want someone to do or say that to me?” if your answer is not, then stop it immediately!
That’s a good list to start with. If you can accomplish those 4 things you are well on your way to bringing honor to those in authority. It does not matter how you are treated or what the boss is like. This is your responsibility. Do not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).