REVEALING GOD IN WORKPLACE
“ Slaves are to be submissive to their own mastersin everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,not pilfering,but showing all good faith,so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior”. [Titus 2: 9,10]
Slaves in context:
Slavery was an unquestioned institution in the first century. At that time, slaves were found in all professions. W.L. Westermann writes,
The institution of slavery was a fact of Mediterranean economic life so completely accepted as a part of the labour structure of the time that one cannot correctly speak of the slave “problem” in antiquity. This unquestioning acceptance of the slave system explains why Plato in his plan of the good life as depicted in The Republic did not need to mention the slave class. It was simply there.
[W.L. Westermann.The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity(The American Philosophical Society, 1955) p.215. Cited in James M.Rochford, The Bible and Slvaery, Evidence Unseen, < http://www.evidenceunseen.com/articles/the-goodness-of-god/the-bible-and-slavery/> (Accessed date: 3 March, 2014)]
End result expected from a slave:
in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Through each and every action the master may see how this slave is living a redeemed life in Christ
submissive to their own masters in everything
Probably in the then context, this is the job and structure of the then slaves. Whereas in other passages Bible does says about freedom for slaves as well.
“ 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant[ d] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[ e] of men. “ I Cor 7:20-23
now the question to ponder is “ can an employee agree to the injustice done to him?”.
Here we face the difficulty of seeing both the verses that talk about justice and submission to authorities in tension.
For instance, if the head of the department asks his teacher (who is a believer) to pass a student who has not attended the class and who has performed extremely bad in his exam, what should be his response?
In today’s understanding of world with lot of empowerment to justice and right to information, the context we are living is not as it was in Paul’s time. At this point the teacher should show God of justice (Amos 5:24) through his evaluation and let the student fail. Even though this is a tough call to the believing teacher with all question of fired from job, this should be the response from teacher Biblically.
they are to be well-pleasing:
In today’s context this implies each person fulfilling his duties to the great extent so that he may be well appreciated by his supervisors. May be this is the automatci outcome if we do everything as we do to the Lord as ecpressed in Colo 3:23
The role of a prophet as we see in the Bible is that of argumentative nature. But here we find an instance where Paul asks the slave not to be argumentative or not to contradict. How do we see the two sides in perspective? Should we also hold on to this principle in times when we see right to information and more emphasis on justice?
Well. This aspect should be seen alongside of other quality mentioned as “ showing all good faith”, “ not pilfrering” (stealing) and “well pleasing”. Probably if an employee who is always into doing good things and is excellent in his job, contradicts the employer there is possibility the employeer rethink.
This is one of the basic principles God has revealed in Mosaic law itself. Can a teacher bring home the pen or pencil that is kept for official use? What is our conviction about pirated softwares or music?
but showing all good faith:
A believing employer should be a faithful person to his boss. He has to be faithful even in little things. In a times when people struggle to find faithful people how much we adorning the doctrine of God will become obvious when we remain as faithful people?
In today’s new paper we have a news item about junior doctors going on strike in Lucknow. What will be your response if you were a junior doctor there? ( http://epaper.indianexpress.com/237368/Lucknow/03-March-2014#page/8/1)
We see a lot of election activities taking place. How do we discern the ones who will be faithful and will not steal?
What challenge do we see in your work place?
How can you show Christ in your workplace?