5 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;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
9 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. Eph. 6:5-9
In this scripture, Paul addresses the “masters” also. Unless Christ has worked in them, masters can be downright condescending, and even rude.
There is a story among the people I live with, the Wanyaturu, about a white missionary who found a group of people walking on the road and he decided to give them a “lift” in his pick-up truck. This was during the colonial era. In those days there were neither cars nor any form of motorized transportation, so a “lift” in an old beat-up truck was worth more then than a modern flight from the Sahara to New York City, NY.
And so this kind, benevolent elderly missionary happily drove for hours and hours until, at last, his passengers signalled that they had arrived at their destination. He stopped, and one by one his passengers dropped off the van and when they were all done, they turned and walked off into the bush without saying a word.
The missionary waited for a few minutes and, before they had gone out of earshot, he called them back. The villagers walked back to the truck, at which the missionary instructed them to get back in because, he explained, he had just realized their journey was not over yet.
The missionary turned his truck around and started back on the road he had just come by. Hour after hour he sped along the road as the villagers sat silently in the back. Finally, he arrived at the very spot he had picked them up earlier in the day. He stopped the truck and ordered everyone to step down.
The villagers submissively got out of the truck and silently looked at the missionary’s face, seeking for an answer. The man had an answer for them.
“It is because you did not thank me”, he said, at which he got into his truck and took off, leaving the unfortunate villagers in a cloud of dust. By then it was night, of course.
During colonial times, the white man was master and the black man his servant or slave. This missionary was exercising his rights as master.
But that’s the spirit of the world. You feel sadder for the missionary than even the stranded villagers! The man may have been a missionary all right, but in his heart he was a pagan. With God, there is no “respect of persons”. God does not make a difference between the rich and the poor; between the important and less important of this world; nor between the master and his slave. The only difference that God makes actually lies in our hearts. We can decide to be and to do what God asks of us. That is when God will regard us differently from those who do not.
It is true that work pertains basically to servants; therefore, it might appear as if the rest of us are free to do as we wish. But this is a big trap here. Many people who are not servants lose out on the “inheritance” promised in verse 24 simply because they do not carry the heart of a servant. Most people – especially people who feel they are entitled to some form of importance – do not “serve the Lord Christ” when it comes to relating to or doing things for other people because they have a bossy mind and a bossy attitude. That attitude will not give us Christ’s inheritance because basically such a person is not serving Christ, but their own selves.
Christ received His inheritance from the father by agreeing to become a servant Himself. Let us all, rather – both masters and servants – desire the mind of Christ. The Bible says of Jesus:
“6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8)
At which we will receive Christ’s inheritance:
“9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)
[A young Nyaturu girl]