Daily Thoughts : May 7th
1 Tim 6:1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered.
Some people wonder why the Bible doesn't condemn slavery. I believe the answer to that is that God knew when in history He could use Christians to do away with it, but the world wasn't ready for that when Paul was writing. However that isn't to say that Paul saw slavery as something good. Here he speaks of being “under the yoke of slavery” and that is a very negative expression. It suggests being under a heavy, tiresome burden. It is not a good thing, but even so Paul says that those slaves who have become a Christian should still maintain a right attitude of respect towards their owner.
Now this is quite a significant teaching. Yes, you may think slavery is a bad thing and you may object to having become a slave (and recognise that this isn't a time when slavery will be done away with), but nevertheless, for the sake of the Faith, keep a good attitude towards your master so that the name of Christianity will not be spoken against.
We are representatives of God, whatever our circumstance – and it may be quite an unfair situation – and so as His representatives we need to reveal His love, His grace, His truth, His justice, His integrity, His honesty, to the on-looking world. We must not give them any cause to speak badly about God or about Jesus or about the Christian Faith in general. To the contrary, the way we live in whatever circumstances should point people to God.
Of course today, those reading this will not be slaves, but we may be employees and so the same teaching will apply to us. We may not 'like' our employer and yet for the sake of the Gospel we are called to 'respect' them, even more, 'worthy of full respect' not just half-hearted respect. Now that may feel difficult sometimes but it is simply a call to face the truth that this is a person in a senior position to you and the role, at least, is worthy of honour. At the very least, respect the role, respect the position.
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