Tit 2:9-10 “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
In instructing Titus concerning speaking those things which pertain to sound doctrine, he has addressed aged men and women and young men and women. As he often does, Paul also has some instruction for the segment of society in that day that were servants. This servitude, according to Strong’s could be literal or figurative, voluntary or involuntary and could apply to bondservants (slaves) or those in a position of subjection or subservience.
While the concept of slavery is abhorrent to us today (and should be), it was a fact of life for many in Paul’s day and remains so in our world today in one form or another. It is sometimes difficult for us to reconcile our personal feelings about slavery with the language of the scripture. Paul is not advocating slavery, but he does have words of wisdom for those who find themselves in this condition.
Paul advises them to be good servants to their own masters. They were not obligated to any other to do their bidding. It was good for them to do their very best for their own masters and not to question or refuse their master’s requirements. They were not supposed to embezzle or hold back anything from their masters, but to be faithful. While all of this might serve to make their lives easier, there was a deeper reason for Paul’s instruction: this was a demonstration of the proper order of things according to the instruction of God.
Considering now what it means to be a good servant, how are we living our lives before our Lord and Master? How often do we stop to consider that we have a Master who has dominion over our lives? God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) is our Master, and we need to instruct one another to be obedient to Him. Our obedience manifests our love for Him (Joh 14:15). Because He first loved us, we should desire to please Him well in all things.
When we understand our position as servants, we understand that everything we do reflects our love for our Master and our desire to please Him. We usually think about pleasing Him when (or maybe if) we sit down to study. We hope to please Him on Sunday when (or maybe if) we go to church. Do we think about pleasing Him when we interact with our parents, our children, our spouses, or co-workers and neighbors? Do we think about pleasing Him with our plans and dreams? Do we recognize that He is not just our Master when we sit down with the Bible or stand in the midst of the congregation?
Further, we are not to refuse Him when He, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, bids us to go and minister unto others. We are not at liberty to try and determine if they are worthy or if our going will serve any real purpose. It is not for us to decide when or how our ministry to others is being effective. As His servants, it is simply our job to go and do the bidding or our Master.
When we are blessed to go and serve, we should hold nothing back (purloining). It is our privilege to serve Him and Him alone (Luk 4:8), manifesting our full reliance on Jesus for our deliverance (fidelity) in all things. In this manner, servants become teachers, manifesting what it means to live our whole life according to the instruction of God, our Saviour and Master.
May we rejoice in our own Master and seek to be obedient only to Him!