Raising the Bar on How We View Work and Our Boss!
Day 2 – Raising the Bar on How We View Work and Our Boss!
Galatians 3:27–28, ESV
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
As we looked at the concept of a Biblical perspective of slavery yesterday, it’s important to go a little further in seeking to understand the word meanings, and the metaphors used to help shape our identity as Christians. The word “bondservant” is “doulos”, which means slave, and is often translated as “slave” or “servant”. It appears 130 times in the New Testament. The meaning of the word is that a slave is completely controlled by someone else.
This is why, in the Christian community, perhaps the word doulos is adopted as a title to describe the relationship as a Christian servant to their master, Jesus! In fact, the early church leaders often used this language to describe the relationship between Christ and themselves.
In Romans 1, we read, “Paul, a doulos of Jesus Christ”; In Philippians 1, we read that Paul and Timothy, refer to themselves as doulos of Christ Jesus. In Titus: “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ”; in James 1, “A doulos of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”. In 2 Peter 1: “Simeon Peter, a doulos and apostle of Jesus Christ”; in Jude 1 - “Jude, a doulos of Jesus Christ and brother of James”.
Two Big Take-Aways
#1 – We need to live like slaves, friends to Jesus. If the Apostles consider themselves as slaves, so should we. You may say, wait, shouldn’t I see myself as a friend of God, since Jesus said that in John 15:15, when he said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends”? Yes and no. Yes, Jesus did say that, but it’s important to understand what he meant by saying “friend”. The word “friend” in the Greek is philos, which means “to love, to have affection for”. Culturally, it can be used to describe an inner circle of friends that would be around a king or emperor. These would be servants that would have been close to the King. Often times servants who were behind closed doors saw and heard many private moments into the King and Queen’s life. These servants became like friends. So, in a sense, Jesus is saying we are slave-friends. Additionally, all the Apostles after Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection referred to themselves as slaves. The meaning of the word is someone who is completely controlled by someone else. We as Christians are called to be controlled not by our flesh, but by the spirit (Romans 8:9). So voluntarily give yourself as a slave to Jesus. Shackle up with him, for he is a good master, and he will protect you, shelter you, and provide for you.
#2 – We all stand on common ground. We must understand that the relationship between the bondservants and the masters were very different. The Apostle Paul called for equal value, worth, and mutual respect and fair treatment in this working relationship. This was a progressive view for that culture; he’s asking masters to live counter-culturally because they would be held accountable to God (Ephesians 6:9). This means we should treat all people with a sense of value and worth, regardless of their color, creed, political belief, lifestyle choices, gender, education, or economic status. This concept was woven into the Declaration of Independence, in saying “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” From the beginning of the Bible to the end, there is call to view all people with value, dignity, worth, and respect. As a Christian, this informs a ministry philosophy on how to relate and interact with others. At North Valley we encourage each person to be relationally inclusive with others as much as possible, befriending those far from God, to bring those close to God, and yet remain Biblically exclusive. This means that we should hold on to the truths of God’s word without compromise, while loving people no matter how their beliefs may differ from our own. God’s word instructs us to raise the bar on how we work as Christians. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:5-9, we learn how he set a new bar for how we work, and being a Christian means there needs to be change in how we work and think about work.
Christianity set a new bar for how we work:
In the next few days, I will unpack 4 Essential truths for employees and employers to live by in order to improve their work life.