Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 1, 2021

Mastering Love

“Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”  Colossians 4:1

Believer or unbeliever, most people are familiar with the “golden rule.” In fact, pretty much every world religion has some version of what Jesus declared to His followers: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). Of course, these are wonderful words to live by…if only people would, am I right? And, of course, this simple little sentence in Luke sits amid much harder-to-do exhortations from Jesus. Things like loving our enemies (not just our friends), doing good to those who hate us, and (gulp) offering up our other cheek when someone slaps us in the face. (And we can confidently presume that other faiths around the world do not tout this agape-love attitude with their respective versions of the golden rule—one of the many reasons Christianity is different.)

In verses 1 through 4 of chapter 4 of Colossians, the Apostle Paul gives one of his many how-to-live lists that could be considered a direct tangent of the golden rule. Generally speaking, Paul’s lists are wonderful—a mix of very practical dos and don’ts, encouragements, and warnings. Here, in the first verse, Paul is speaking directly to slaveowners. In Greek and Roman times, slaves and bondservants were prevalent, but in our culture, he’s talking to Christian employers and managers.

Believers who are over others are to treat their employees with justice and fairness—the same justice and fairness given to us by God. We may be a boss, but we also have a Boss. Our Master in heaven will judge us “masters” on earth who mistreat or abuse our employees. And going one step above the lateral golden rule to a more vertical iteration, we (bosses) should treat employees the way we want to be treated by our Lord. This certainly puts a powerful spin on that ubiquitous rule.

Even more importantly, we need to remember, as Paul reminds us so succinctly in Galatians 3:28, that we are all equal at the foot of the cross: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all brothers and sisters, unified in our heavenly citizenship. We’re to love each other, not mistreat or abuse each other. We must extend grace and mercy to others—even to hateful employees or employers—because of the grace and mercy the Lord extended to us when we were His enemy.

“Lord, You are my Master. Everything I have is Yours, and all I do is for You. Remind me to treat those under (and around) me with the same loving grace You extend to me.


For His Glory


Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

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