Ephesians 6: 5-9
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
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 favouritism with him.
SUMMARY OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE
The story of God is not confined to the church, He shows up in a thousand different places. We are constantly surrounded by it and continuously invited to step into it. His story is not primarily seen in the exciting and dramatic but most often in the ordinary and everyday moments, including our workplaces.
The work of God and the Kingdom of God are not found in what we typically regard as ‘spiritual’ pursuits or church events – it is in your job, your everyday life, your work environment. The Kingdom mandate is to bring life to everything, everywhere.
The fact that Paul mentions ‘slaves’ here in Ephesians indicates that something is broken in the workplace. God’s original design for work has become distorted and corrupted. Work was originally supposed to be a place of life, flourishing, generosity, discovery, cultivation, beauty and partnership.
However work can feel like slavery and drudgery, a place where instead of feeling liberated and engaged we feel controlled and manipulated.
The goal as believers is not just to survive work but to come alive in work. If God has given you a transformation anointing it is because He wants something transformed.
The Kingdom of God doesn’t advance through outwardly amazing moments but actually our workplaces are changed by the obedience we bring. We begin to regulate the temperature. Obedience makes it possible to transform any environment.
Obedience at work means simply that we do what our boss tells us to do. When you honour the authority God has put over your life in any sphere, Kingdom favour comes into your life. Paul even says that the Lord will reward you, he will add favour to your obedience.
Obedience is not just an outward gesture you express because there's something to be gained. Rather it is a posture of your heart.
Most of us don't think of God being involved in our work in this way. We think in terms of the dramatic and instant, for example, 'If only God would move in this place.' Yet the Kingdom advances like yeast in seemingly mundane and insignificant moments. It is not an outpouring of God that is required but obedience from us.
In verse 7 we are told to “serve wholeheartedly”. As a servant our task is to supply the design and destiny of that company or industry. It is of no credit to Christ if we remove our consumer mindset from church and still bring it to work with us. That is a compartmentalisation of faith.
A Christ-like attitude asks, “How do I make it a better place?; How do I serve this company?; “How do I help it flourish?”
It is hard to give your job your best when you are thinking your worst about it. The best thing you can do is to leave your ego at the door.
To serve wholeheartedly means to put your whole energy, enthusiasm and excellence into it. Bring your best. Excellence is developed, it is rarely a gift. There are skills you need to learn and grow relating to the context in which you will use them. Ask: “What can I do to upgrade my skills? What can I do to bring more value to this company?” We work to learn not to earn.
Paul goes on to say: “Do it with all your heart, working for the Lord and not for men.” One day the Lord is going to ask you about your work. He will ask: “How did you release the design and destiny of that place that could only be done by a servant of Christ?”
If you will serve wholeheartedly, sooner or later someone will notice and you will get promoted. The parable of the talents shows us how the Kingdom works. Why would God entrust more to us when we have an attitude of entitlement?
Serving with excellence means bringing a solution. Solve a problem at work. Anyone can see problems but we get attention and rewarded for the solutions we bring. The mess you see all around you in work is the perfect soil for transformation.
God may place problems in front of you that no one else can solve because He wants you to provide solutions. Promotion brings resource which carries responsibility allowing you to steer the company into the future.
God wants us to move from being workers to being creators, who as we partner with Him, are entrusted to resource those around us.