“Trouble-Shooting With Titus”
“The Work Force” (2:9-10)
Now the apostle moves to the realm of employment, and the Christians conduct there. Notice that the apostle makes no attack upon the institution of slavery. Or deals in any way with the rights and wrongs of employment. Again we need to remember that we live in a fallen, perverse and self-centred world. With the millions of people who were slaves in the Roman Empire at that time, and they were not all altogether unhappy with their lot. Many of them would have served good masters. But think of the chaos that it would have caused if Paul had sought in any way to cause a revolt against slavery. The state, the Roman authorities would have come down brutally on such. Not to mention the hardship it would have caused to many of the slaves, no social services, no other form of employment, therefore, no food, no shelter, it would have been disastrous. But if Paul had incited such a revolt, what would the Roman powers have done to the infant church?
But there is another aspect to this. Rebellion, anarchy never solved anything, it just serves to make things worse, leads to deeper tyranny. Think of the anarchy we have seen in the past in this country as a result of the Trade Union movement. Should a Christian be a member of such a movement. Is it Christian conduct to threaten to withdraw one’s labour in order to obtain higher wages. That is blackmail is it not? Whatever Christians do in terms of employment, they are to do it whole-heartedly, as to the Lord himself (Colossians 3:22-23). Not purloining v10, that is pilfering, stealing in fact (Exodus 20:15). A practice that is common place in many a workplace, in the West at least. Integrity, honesty, loyalty seem to be relics of the past now. It appears to be everyone’s right to take what they want and get it without cost or labour. Well, says Paul, Christians are to be different in the workplace. What about the conduct of “Christian workers”, pastors, missionaries etc., what of your honesty, integrity? Your accounts, your receipts and your time? Can you be trusted?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1998)