Our modern understanding of slavery is mainly based on what happened in America between the 17th and 18th centuries. This was an era in history when slaves were grossly mistreated and handled in the most inhumane ways one could imagine. It was a dreadful time in human history, which only goes to demonstrate the sinful nature of man. It is important to note that this was not the same slavery that we see in Bible time.
For instance, under the Mosaic laws taught
If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25:39-40
If someone was unable to make ends meet, they were allowed to offer themselves to be a slave, but the master could not mistreat them or physical abuse them under the law. Furthermore, they were to be set free at Jubilee. It is with this understanding that we should read the following verses from the New Testament.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. – Colossians 3:22
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, – Titus 2:9
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. – 1 Timothy 6:1
What does this mean to us as slaves of Christ? It means we are to always submit to the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ in all areas of life. Even though we are free, we are called not to lead ourselves but rather to seek for our master’s direction at all times. We are called not to lean on our own understanding, but to allow Him to direct our path. So often we come to God telling Him what He should do for us. We should always remember that He is Lord and we are his servants. Like every good slave, our ultimate desire should be to serve Him faithfully.
- Have you ever supervised a person or a group of people who were always rebellious?
- Does your behaviour at work bring glory to God?
- In which areas of life do you struggle the most to submit to God.
Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I have rebelled against your counsel. Help me to always submit to your Lordship no matter the cost. Help me to follow your leading in every area of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.