1Ti 6:1-2 “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.”
The scripture often deals with difficult matters. Slavery in any form is certainly not a desirable outcome. However, history is rife with people who are slaves either by conquest or debt. Paul’s writing here was not about supporting slavery, but rather about how to live a good life before God even in these hard conditions.
Furthermore, we do not have to be literal slaves to have masters in this life. If we are employed, we have a master. We are all subject to the master of governmental authority. As students, we have many masters during our educational journey. Like the injunction of doing good to others, we have a responsibility before God to conduct ourselves in an honorable manner toward our masters.
To be under the yoke implies that we are joined in a manner that we cannot free ourselves from. It is a place of burden bearing, and we are not at liberty to choose our own direction. We would hope to have benevolent masters. However, we know from experience that is not always the case.
Note that Paul does not necessarily say that our masters will always be worthy of honor. But just as Jesus commanded that we do good to them who would abuse us (Mat 5:44), in the same way, we are to deem our masters as deserving of respect. We do not do this for their sakes. We do this to honor God (our true Master) and to uphold the integrity of His doctrine.
If we find ourselves with masters who are also believers, then we should not just count them as worthy of honor. Instead, we should consider them in the light of being our brothers in Christ. They deserve the same consideration and prayerful support as those we worship with. We do merely serve them, but we do them service.
Our service to fellow believers should not be one of simple legal requirements. We should serve with love and humility. We should not resent our service, but rather thank God that we can serve those who love Him. It is a blessing to labor for people who understand the benefit of serving God.
It behooves us who love God to teach these things. We should be teaching our children that it is right before God to honor our commitment to learn from our teachers. Our example in the workplace should teach a right and respectful attitude towards our employer rather than slacking in our responsibility. Our integrity toward the truth of God should be readily seen in our lives regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
May we always remember that God is our ultimate Master, and He is worthy of our trust in His doctrine!