Children and Parents
6 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
Slaves and Masters
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
9 Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.
The Whole Armor of God
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[g]
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.[h] 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
21 To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.
23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters,[i] and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is so much big teaching in this chapter which we could spend days talking about each topic. Parenting, children, slaves and masters, spiritual battles, the armor of God and so on. I want to focus on slaves and masters today.
Two main themes stand out in these few passages, the role of the slave ( or what we could parallel today with an employee) and the role of the master (boss, manager, supervisor etc..)
First we must remind ourselves that God created work back in the garden of Eden. It was a good thing, a gift from God. (had you ever looked at it that way?) Being productive and useful is a very mentally healthy thing, having little purpose or contributing little value to anything around you can be very depressing. When sin entered the world, not only did man have to work harder to earn his next meal, but we began to not look at work as a gift, but as a burden and sometimes dreary.
But God says no, we must not allow ourselves to fall to this level. We are to work hard and with enthusiasm. We are to do the best possible job we can for our employer. Even if you don’t love the job. It doesn’t make a difference. Attitude is a choice, and if we go in each day grumpy, it will be a long day indeed. Go in with enthusiasm and with the attitude of how you can bless your employer today, that makes the job a blessing. In fact, Paul says we need to work as if we are working directly for Jesus Himself. How does that change our perspective?
Employers, you are not off the hook. you as well must remember you serve the same God as your employees, and you are called to treat them fairly and with respect. You are not higher than them in the heavenly realm. As a boss or supervisor, we need to see how we can serve those that work under our authority. How can you make their job better, so they can do better work for you? Remember, some of these people are your brothers and sisters in Christ, and the rest need to be, so our actions will speak volumes.
Today, if you are an employee, consider how you view each morning as you get ready for work. Even if you don’t have the greatest job, begin to treat as if it was. List ways you can bless your employer, fellow workers and customers. God has placed you there for a reason, let your light shine brightly.
For you in authority over others, are you treating each employee with respect? List ways you could help your workers achieve success in their daily work. Be the servant leader Jesus calls us to be.
Lord, help us to have the right attitude and perspective when it comes to our work. Thank you for placing us where we are, in the midst of our own mission field. Help us to see how to best serve our fellow workers and authority figures. Help me to be a light to those around me. In Jesus name, amen.