While Paul addresses slaves—commissioning them to work for God first—he doesn’t leave masters off the hook. In our modern context, a better way of thinking of “master” is someone who leads or is responsible for other people in their work world.
Those who are managers and set the work expectations for people under them have a unique responsibility to God. They must first remember they are not autonomous. Even if they’re the CEO of the company, they have a “boss” to answer to: God.
Two questions to guide us as we lead others are: “Is it right?” and “Is it fair?” Is it right to withhold a bonus from someone who deserves it, or is it fair to ask a working mom to answer emails at 7 pm on a Thursday night? When we lead our teams with fairness and rightness, we represent God in a powerful way and we honor the people God’s placed under our leadership.
If you find yourself in a position where you lead or are responsible for others, take care today to operate with fairness and rightness. Perhaps you need to spend some time seriously rethinking your expectations of the people under you. Make tangible shifts to honor the people you’ve been entrusted to serve and, in doing so, you’ll honor the God who cares deeply for all people.