Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Whether servant or master, we are to honor God in all that we do. Whether high or lowly, rich or poor, above or below, Jesus is still our example. He came to Earth as a lowly servant, giving Himself in obedience to God and obeying those in authority over Him. He submitted to the false trial cooked up by the Pharisees. He endured the mocking and the scourging. He willingly laid down His life, allowing the soldiers to hammer in the nails and raise up His cross. Through all of it, His eye was on pleasing His Father and accomplishing His will.
But Jesus is also a gracious master who demonstrates love and compassion for others in all that He does. He has the ultimate authority as the King of kings, but He doesn’t abuse His power. He doesn’t immediately condemn and consume all who come against Him. He isn’t petty. He isn’t vengeful. But Jesus is merciful and gracious, willing to extend that to us. He is willing to forgive. He is patient with us. And He seeks our best.
Jesus shows us how to live no matter what position we hold. And the essence of what Paul is saying is that servants should be like Jesus and seek to please Him, and masters should be like Jesus and seek to please Him. One is not better than the other in God’s eyes, and we all ultimately answer to Jesus for everything we do. And the way we conduct ourselves in whatever role we have is part of the way that we live for Him.
Sometimes we can look at our circumstances and find ourselves a little discouraged if we’re on the bottom or puffed up if we’re on the top. But Jesus wants us to keep our focus on Him. He is our Master. He is who we serve in every part of our lives, in every role that we have, in everything that we do. It’s not about earning the applause and recognition of men, but being faithful to our Lord. It’s not about exercising our authority and showing others who is boss, but always having that meek spirit in our dealings with others. May we adopt the attitude of Christ and approach our work, our service, and our tasks with humility and out of obedience to Him.