BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” Colossians 4:1 ESV
There is a saying, “use money, value people.” It is unfortunate whether in attitude and certainly in action when there are those who value money so they “use” people. The attitude is not a characteristic of modern capitalism alone. As a matter of fact is was more prevalent in the past when there were actual “masters” and “slaves.”
As Paul gives instructions on a variety of matters related to the Christian life, he addresses some very practical issues. This is certainly one of those. I think of those of various walks of life, soldiers and tax collectors, for example that came to John the Baptist and asked about their duties to others. John’s response, like Paul’s would seem to “go against the grain” of current thoughts and “rights” of those who were “in charge.”
Paul not only calls for the proper and ethical treatment of others; especially in this context of “master” to “servant,” but he also gives the proper motivation. He says that just and fair treatment should be motivated by understanding that “you also have a Master in heaven.” Those who hold others accountable, must remember that they themselves are accountable.
When I served in the legislature and monitored the Audit Committee, it was interesting to observe the departments that were charged with and carried the heaviest regulatory clout, were often negligent in the accountability for following some of their department’s operations and aspects of State law or taking needed corrective actions to address a deficiency.
In scripture we see a “Centurion” coming to Jesus on behalf of a servant who was sick. He asked Jesus, “just speak the word.” He explained, “I know what it is to be in authority and under authority.” I have always appreciated the attitude of some very successful business people who in spite of their success and accomplishments, they recognize that they are still accountable to God and to others.
Those who believe that the only source of accountability is in “this life” are only deceiving themselves. Paul gave this sobering warning, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV)
Whether in a position of power or not we can all be those who treat others justly and fairly. It reveals our understanding that we value people and always seek to honor God to Whom will one day give an account.
Prayer for today… Lord, it can be difficult to connect with the “master/servant” relationship. But we all interact with and work with people in different contexts. Help us to remember to value people. To be those who encourage and treat others justly and fairly. Help us not to view others as a means to our end, but to make sure that we are helping them to achieve the “end” that You have planned for their lives.