Pondering Ephesians 6:5-9
This Week’s Passage: 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. 9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
We live in a quid pro quo society! I’ve always wanted to have an excuse to say that because it sounds smart. Quid pro quo – literally in Latin it means something for something. If you work hard you expect to get rewarded. If you study hard you hope get good grades. If you do something for someone they do something for you. If you do enough for God you expect to be blessed. (Actually our society today is devolving into an entitlement society – something for nothing… but that is for another discussion).
There are 2 things in this passage that I observe about work/reward:
1) Obedience brings blessing – this is a principle I see throughout Scripture. God does promise to reward His children for obedience. That reward may or may not be in this life but it will be in eternity. So we work hard on behalf of the Lord, doing what is right, because we know that we will reap the Lord’s reward. There is nothing wrong with that as a motivation. We just have to be careful that we do not equate reward from God as material blessings in this world because that may or may not happen. But when we maintain the perspective that the 70 or so years of this life is but a drop in the bucket to how long eternity is then it helps us to keep pressing on even when life on earth is difficult.
2) Being a hard worker is pleasing to God – God wants us to work hard. Not because we expect something in return but because it is the right thing to do. Often we are rewarded for hard work, but not always. Our motivation is not to be because we expect to get something but because we are seeking to please God.
This is a lesson for me – I am as guilty as anyone about expectations for work done. I need to remember that it is the Lord God that I am serving in everything that I do. I want to be first and foremost a God-pleaser not a man pleaser because my reward will ultimately come from Him.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 6:10-13