Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. — 1 Timothy 6:1-2
During the time that Paul and Timothy lived, the gospel had a special appeal to a poorer segment of society. But in Ephesus, we don't just have poor people. We have a large segment of the ultra-rich. This means that in the church at Ephesus, they had followers who were both rich (or owners) and poor (or slaves) who would worship together. And this unique socioeconomic dynamic had concern for Paul. So Paul addresses that tension. This is what leaders do, they address potential issues before they become actual issues. That's just good leadership.
But the direction Paul gives here has some incredible marketplace applications for a believing employee. If we apply his direction to our modern context, we will learn a lot about how believing employees should interact in the marketplace with two types of bosses.
First, Paul speaks to the issue of a believer working under the direction of an unbelieving boss. He tells us that we are to regard, or think, about them honorably. Now occasionally, this can be a problem for some believers who work for bosses that do not believe in God. But as Paul states here, we have to take responsibility for addressing any of our "bad thinking" that would result in dishonor. And we know that from time to time, unbelieving bosses will do less than honorable things. But we have to trust that these things will be exposed in God's time. Until then, it is our responsibility to steward how we regard them, because God may use these events to drive them to Him. Thus Paul says we must always be ready by acting honorably so that we bring attention to God's name and teaching when this time comes, instead of discrediting it. Incredible advice!
Second, Paul speaks to the issue of a believer working under the direction of a believing boss. Here we assume that these bosses might go to church with them. But the predicament here is that believers who are employees might try to take advantage of the relationship or generosity of their believing bosses and use it as leverage or permission. Instead, Paul says don't do that. And then commands them to be disrespectful. And then, he declares that this is an incredible opportunity for two believing people to serve all the better because they share common values and a common end. I have often called this convergence. I think of convergence as the combination of believers working together in ministry using their time, talents, and treasures for the greater impact of the kingdom. I believe godly men search for and want experiences like this in life. And I believe it can be found. I am presently blessed to experience this. This ministry right here is the convergence of all I am working together with each of you to impact men for the kingdom. And guess what? We can do this apart from each, but if we do it together, something incredible happens, that is, as Paul says — all the better.
So as, believing employees today work well, and if you are working for believers, then let's work all the better.
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