“Things to Reconcile for $200, Alex”
“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God andhisdoctrine be not blasphemed.” 1Timothy 6:1
Imagine you are on a TV game show called Spiritual Jeopardy. The object of the game is to make sense out of passages of scripture that seems very odd to our contemporary way of thinking. The key to the winning answer is to remember to first understand the context of the passage and the social order of the time in which it was written.
Though some have gone to great links in these present days to deny it, the Bible is still the most practical book every written. It deals with issues of life squarely, clearly and in laser like fashion goes directly to the heart of the matter.
Where it becomes convoluted, complex and condemning to some people is when it is deliberately misread and falsely interpreted to support an opposing doctrine that seeks to dismiss it as irrelevant out of date and offensive to higher evolved thinking and the rights of people to live their lives with the dictates of religion, and particularly Christianity.
The naysayers, God haters and anti-Christians will tell you the Bible and Christianity in particular is against everything that is meant to be enjoyed in life. It’s just full of prohibitions, rules and regulations that take all the fun out of life and constrain people to living dull, unfulfilling, miserable lives trying to live up to some holy perfection where there is no fun, no sexual pleasure or enjoyment outside of heterosexual marriage and that is only to be endured as sin for the purpose of having children, no drinking, no dancing, no one being happy, no laughter, no joy because that is frivolity and should be avoided at all costs.
They would say it inhibits healthy social growth and maturity because it preaches that anything other than heterosexuality in marriage is sin and everybody but the politically Christian Rightare going to hell.
Absurd as that sounds, it is precisely what an ever-growing number of people in the secular world are espousing and indoctrinating young minds into believing is true about God and those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. But we must not be dissuaded from proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and with the light of the Word push back against the darkness of lies against Him.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy poses some provocative questions and assertions for us to consider in the post Christian society of America Over the next few days we will look into chapter 6 for a Biblical perspective on our time and how we as the church of Jesus Christ are to live in it.
1 Timothy 1:1 is addressed to those who came to faith in Jesus Christ at a time when they were servants having masters over them. The admonition is to accepting that role and carrying it out with integrity, honoring and serving their masters with an acknowledgment that they are representing the name of God by which they are now identified.
The context of the passage is Paul’s instruction, advice and council to Timothy whom he had left in Ephesus to pastor the growing church in that city. His intent was to equip him to minister to the people of his congregation, all classes and social/economic groups in the culture of the time. Having servants was common to the wealthy. In some cases it was imposed because of debt in other cases it was voluntary as a form of necessary employment.
Servants served in various levels of responsibility from the lowliest keeper of the mean things of the house to the highest positions of stewardship. Whatever their station as Christians they were all to serve their masters with extra care with excellence, trust and reliability.
The application of this Scripture for us today is to consider ourselves as servants to those for whom we work. Not as indentured slaves but as faithful employees, serving them with integrity, trust and reliability, even to going the extra mile so that we will bring honor to the name of God by the excellence of our service in our jobs our businesses, our human endeavors of all kinds as those under another’s authority, in attitude, efficiency and productivity as we would serve God’s purpose.
This passage is not about the slavery of the antebellum south. It is not about accepting and enduring cruelty and abusive at the hands of ruthless enemy. It is not a justification of the system of slavery. It is a call to each of us to serve well regardless of the station we might find ourselves in at any point in our lives.
It is about understanding that in whatever strata of life we find ourselves before we are born again we remain at that level in that legal, honest profession until we are promoted or God moves us to another place or station in life. Our salvation is not a change of status in the world’s economy, at least not initially. It isa change of status for us in God’s Heavenly economy.
As servants of God we become partakers of His divine nature, we become joint heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, we gain the mind of Christ and we become sons and daughters of the Most High God; we are filled with the Holy Spirit and receive healing and eternal life by the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The lowliest worker in this world’s economy who gives his heart to Jesus, in that instant becomes one among the richest people on earth with all those who are born-again by the Spirit of God, with all the resources of Heaven at his disposal as God ordains it.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him alsofreely give usall things?”Romans 8:32