5 “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.” (Ephesians 6:5–8 (ESV)
I began working at the age of 16. My first job was sweeping the parking lot, and taking care of the grounds, of a Burger King Restaurant. Honestly, I never saw so many discarded cigarette butts in my life. It was a dirty job, as you can imagine. I eventually worked my way up to assistant manager. I learned lifelong lessons about work and working at that fast-food restaurant.
My second job was in the meat department of a local Detroit area grocery store chain, which was eventual purchased by Kroger. It too was a hard and physically exhausting job. My boss and fellow employees were serious and demanding. However, I eventually earned their respect. The job also resulted in lifelong benefits. It was there that I met the young lady who was to become my wife.
It was also during my time at the grocery store that I became a Christian. I learned the importance of reflecting my love for my Savior in my commitment to excellence in the job I performed. The two became intertwined.
The Apostle Paul addressed the integrity of one’s work in Ephesians 6:6. Paul wrote “not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,” Paul was referring to work and the attitude of slaves, or employees, to be obedient to their earthly masters, or employers. Paul stressed that obedience to one’s earthly master, or boss, was to be sincere.
The phrase eye-service (ὀφθαλμοδουλία; ophthalmodoulian), from which we derive our English word ophthalmologist, is a slang expression meaning to work hard only when the master is around. Additionally, the phrase people-pleasers ἀνθρωπάρεσκος; anthropareskos) concerns the attitude of trying to win a boss’ favor without really working hard.
The alternative is to approach work with the mental attitude of being a bondservant of Christ and doing your job from a heart dedicated to always bring glory to God (I Corinthians 10:31). This means doing the will of God in your mind, emotions and will.
Not all jobs are easy and not all bosses are easy to work for and with. Some can be overly demanding, demeaning and micromanaging. Others may come across as uncaring and unfeeling.
Regardless of your work environment, each day you report for work and punch in resolved to do everything you do and say for the glory of the God who saved you. That work ethic results in a legacy of labor that will endure well after you have retired from your job.
Remember, to serve one’s employer well is to serve Christ well. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!