Word-filled Worker & Boss

2 April 2017 PM – Colossians 3:22-4:1 – Col16 – Scott Childs

Introduction: In Bible days, slavery was common. Slaves had little motivate to do a good job for their master beyond what was necessary to avoid a beating. Masters were often unkind and unfair with their slaves. Thus, the relationship between slaves and masters was often very unloving. When a slave or a master became a Christian, God changed his life, including his work ethics. The instructions given in this section were to help the Christian slave and the Christian master to promote good work relationships.

Though we are neither slaves nor masters, the principles given the slave and master apply just as well to the employee and employer scenario of our day. At times employers or employees can be difficult to work with. God knows that and will enable us to do right if we are Word-filled (Spirit-filled).

Transition: In this final section, God gives employees and employers three instructions that we can do if we are Word-filled.

1.        Obey Fearfully (Col 3:22)

a.         Employees are commanded to listen and obey.
1)         God has commanded us to obey our employers. The same word obey is used in (Col 3:20) above for children. It means to listen attentively and do what was asked.
2)         The phrase “according to the flesh” makes it clear that God is speaking of human masters.
3)         Employees are to obey in all things or in all respects.
a)         For the slave, disobedience would endanger his life and discredit his Christianity, but active cheerful obedience of all duty would benefit himself and promote Christ.
b)         For us today, disobedience will endanger our job rather than or life, but it will also harm our testimony for the Lord. On the other hand, following God’s command and obeying the boss will make a positive impression for the cause of Christ.
²  When I was first married, I got a job in a tiny factory. The boss was reluctant to hire me because he had determined never to hire anyone less than 25 years old. Previous young workers had done a poor job. A few months later when I found a better job, the boss begged me not to leave. I had not done anything special except to work steadily and obey his wishes.

b.         Employees are to obey because they fear God.
1)         A Christian should never just work when being watched.
a)         Eyeservice refers to working only when being watched and menpleasers seek to impress the boss. They work when he watches to stay on his good side.
b)         The slave’s goal was to avoid punishment. He seldom cared about his work. He cared only for himself. The same is true about many workers today. When the boss is out, they take extra breaks, slow their pace, or goof around.
c)         As a Christian, God expects us to care about how we work, whether the boss is watching or not.
2)         The verse continues, “BUT in singleness of heart.”
a)         “BUT” stresses the contrast or difference that ought to be present in a Christian’s work. A Christians are to be different.
b)         “Singleness of heart” stresses a single motive. We are to work diligently without seeking special benefits or unearned privileges. It will help us to keep a single motive if we remember that God is watching and keeping the records. The boss may not see when you do a good job, but God does!
c)         To fear God is to honour and respect God’s wishes in this area. If you will fear God, He will give you this singleness of heart.

2.        Work Heartily (Col 3:23-25)

a.         Employees are to do all work heartily (v.23-24)
1)         Heartily means out from the soul.  The idea is to work with the whole heart. Put your heart into your work. Do first-class work. Do all your work without grumbling, complaining or reluctance, honestly and cheerfully doing a good job. Working heartily is what makes a GOOD worker.
2)         When assisting a boss or other worker, working heartily is watching and thinking ahead of what he will need next and having it ready for him.
3)         Some bosses are unfair. They may give promotions based on friendship rather than on workmanship. They may assign more difficult jobs to a Christian. They may deny privileges that they give to their drinking buddies. If there is nothing that can be done about it, leave it in the hands of the Lord. Work as to the Lord, even if you are working for an ungodly boss. Do the job like you would do it for the Lord.
4)         Remember that the Lord will repay you with his inheritance. Slaves had no earthly inheritance but God has promised every Christian an inheritance in heaven that is far better than any earthly payment. (1 Peter 1:3-4) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” God will repay you beyond any earthly oversight. God sees your work and your motives. He even knows the “thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12)
5)         Also remember that you are serving the Lord Christ. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psa 50:10)
b.         God will punish any wrong that we do (v.25)
1)         God said, those doing wrong will receive back wrong. If you cheat your boss, you can expect to be cheated.
2)         Many workers steal time and materials from their boss and try to justify it by saying “he owes it to me.” No, God said, “do right and let God settle the score.” Stealing time or materials from your employer is sin.
3)         God will hold those accountable who are guilty of wrong. He is not a respecter of persons. He never favours one above another. He will always be just because he knows ALL the facts.

3.        Employ Justly (4:1)

a.         Employers must pay fairly
1)         The word “give” means to render of yourself. You are to take of your own substance and pay those who work for you.
2)         All payments must be just and equal to the amount of work done. It is wrong for a boss to cheat his workers.
b.         Employers must remember they have a Master.
1)         The Lord is the heavenly Master of every Christian employer. When you employ someone, follow your Master’s example.
a)         How did Christ treat those under him? He loved them. He, as a servant, washed their feet.
b)         He is always gracious and merciful to us. He withholds bad that we deserve and give good that we don’t deserve.
2)         We must not forget that we are under a higher Master, so we must not misuse our position as an earthly master. The previous verse (v.25) applies as much to masters as it does to servants.

Conclusion: Many of us here this evening either work for someone. Even you children work for your parents. As a worker, God commands that we obey fearfully and work heartily. We must not be lazy when we think no one will notice. We must work as if the Lord Himself was our employer. If we get cheated, the Lord will reward us. If we do wrong, the Lord will hold us accountable.

If you are over other workers, be sure to treat them as the Lord would treat them. You have a Master in heaven, honour him and follow his example.

If you find these commands difficult, remember that God will give you the strength needed if you are Word-filled or Spirit-filled.

Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337