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1 Timothy 6:1-2

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are fellow believers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.


Once again we find spirituality in the ordinary moments of life. What could be more ordinary than work?

Of course, Paul is speaking specifically to those “under the yoke of slavery,” a very different circumstance than today’s working world. Many slaves were treated well – with dignity and respect – and lived in relative security and peace, but they weren’t free. Indeed, Paul on another occasion would give this simple advice: “if you can gain your freedom, do so” (1 Corinthians 7:21).

Nonetheless, work – then and now – is one of those ordinary aspects of life which becomes a context for spirituality. Especially when it comes to how we relate to the “boss.” Paul starts with a piece of general instruction: those engaged in work “should consider their masters (or boss or supervisor or manager) worthy of full respect.” Notice, this instruction isn’t dependent on the boss’ relative worth (how competent, fair, generous, or compassionate they happen to be), but rather on our own attitude as a worker. That’s the force of the word “consider.” It all has to do with how we choose to view our boss. We need to see them as “worthy of full respect” – that’s the lens we are to continually look through. “Full respect.”

Our behaviour, then, spills forth from that outlook. We’ll listen attentively to what the boss says, rather than turning a deaf ear or rolling our eyes; we’ll honour them with our words, rather than nattering behind their back; we’ll work to make their plans succeed, rather than ignoring their lead and doing our own thing.

Tragically, a simple failure to extend such respect in the workplace can actually result in God’s own name being disrespected, as well as the glorious, good news of the Gospel. Did you realize that workplace attitudes could have such effect? Do you see how the ordinary avenues of life become possible thoroughfares for God’s glory?

And what about a boss who happens to be a fellow believer? Since we are all one in Christ, and since we are each equally important as members of the Body, we might simply downgrade the boss’ authority in our own eyes and excuse ourselves from submitting fully to his directives. Or we might presume on the spiritual relationship, correctly understanding we are siblings together in God’s family, but then wrongly expecting favouritism in the workplace. Might we even feel envious of this brother or sister who has risen above us in the place of work? Might we erode our respect for them as a result?

Don’t do it, Paul says. Don’t show them less respect. Indeed, show them even more. Serve them well. Work hard. Help them succeed in their calling. Make them look good. For as fellow believers in Christ Jesus, they should be dear to you. Let it show in the way you respond to their lead.

All of this is for the glory of Christ. As you honour your earthly boss, the workplace becomes an arena to honour your Lord. “It is the Lord Christ you are serving,” Paul says elsewhere (Colossians 3:24).

So serve him well.


Lord Jesus, I offer you my place of work as an altar – may I honour you there. Transform me by the renewing of my mind. Shape my attitude into one of full respect for those who serve as my superiors. When the relationship is difficult, grant me more grace. All for your glory. Amen.


Reflect: Are there any of your superiors in the workplace you find it especially hard to treat with respect? Ask the Lord to show you what step(s) you could take to express sincere respect over the next several days.


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