Called to Suffer (Chapter 2 Verses 11-25)
This respect is to be shown in the work-place too (v18). Again notice there is no seed of rebellion sown here in terms of anti-slavery. Anarchy just produces more anarchy, unrest, rebellion and violence, it never produces good. Look at the results of the so-called Arab Spring in the Middle East, of recent years. Utter anarchy. Respectful submission towards those for whom you work. That means quality of work, time-keeping, effort, the way you speak about your superiors and others in the place you work. It means you don’t fiddle time or expenses. It means you are thoroughly honest in all things. It means you are the one person the boss can trust over anybody else. It means your word is good, even your bond. It means if you say you will do something, then you will do it. Yes, all this is part of the Spirit-filled life, the person baptised in and given the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a person who is truthful, upfront honest, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John.16.13). There is a practical side to the truth that he leads us into as well. Now if that leaves you breathless, wait for the last bit. This applies not just when the boss is a good, kind, and considerate one. But even when he or she is an absolute tyrant, a villain (v18b).
This is to be done with a God-consciousness (v19), but then that is the only way to accomplish it, living your life constantly under the gaze of God. Looking for his commendation and not man’s, doing everything ultimately to please God (1Thessalonians 4.1; Colossians 3.22-25). If you get the sack for having done something wrong, and you hold your hand up and say, “fair enough”, there is nothing really brilliant about that. But when you get the sack for doing right, for being honest, truthful, God is pleased (v20). In actual fact that is your calling in Christ, that is how he suffered, that is the example he left us. Remember he suffered in your place, it was us who should have been on that cross. He did not kick and scream, ‘I’m the Son of God, you can’t do this to me’, no he bore it, silently he took it for us. And once again here is the way Jesus operated, this is how you do it, follow me. He was totally sinless (v22; Luke 23.41; John 8.46; 2Corinthians 5.21; Hebrews 4.15), no deceit. But we cannot say that (Jeremiah 17.9). So our call (2.9; v21), obligates us to suffer with humility while doing good for others, no not in order to win other people for Jesus, but simply because of what you are, what God has made you, a Christian.
(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)