Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.
In a day when it is so totally ‘in’ to slam anyone who has money and creates jobs and gives jobs to others (owners, managers, bosses, supervisors), let this little verse remind us of how those who follow Christ are to look upon their bosses. My own paraphrase is below, kind of a personal, layman’s amplified Bible approach.
Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants (those who have been given the privilege of working and providing for themselves and their family) regard (look upon, consider, attribute to) their own masters (your boss and their bosses) as worthy (people created by God in His own image, deserving) of all honor (respect them, treat them as we want to be treated, give them the benefit of the doubt, look for ways to bring them success – we may truly have lost the meaning of this word in our day).
Notice closely that what we are called to do in this verse may not make sense to us or others in the current reality of our employment; i.e. our bosses may not really appear to be the type who are deserving of such. We are simply told to do it. To act toward them as if they were. Isn’t this totally crazy? Well, for one with an earthly perspective on work and life, it is absolutely crazy. For one who sees beyond the flimsiness of this world and who is motivated by a higher reality and purpose, it is true sanity. Why? Why would anyone do this?
We aren’t left hanging. Paul explains why we should honor our bosses and regard them as worthy folks. Because it reflects and protects the reputation and work of Father God who redeemed us and recreated us. Our respect for our boss reflects respect upon our God and it works to prevent others from running down and despising the teaching about faith in Jesus Christ that we have received. You know, those words that saved our soul! It’s not about favor or promotions or easy assignments. It’s about representing God in our workplace, wherever that is. We all ultimately have one Boss and every other manager, good or bad, works for Him – even if they are unaware that they do. How we treat our bosses and respond to our managers is to be based upon how we have been treated by the Big Boss, God Almighty. He has regarded us as ‘worthy of all honor’, the honor of salvation and life abundant – while we were yet sinners. He’s only asking us to treat our supervisors as our SUPERvisor has treated us. He has not called us to anything that He has not already done Himself. But, as a side note, even if He did call us to something He has not already done, that is totally His prerogative. He is the Sovereign God! He knows what is best for His creation.
Thanks be to God that He has not left us to accomplish this on our own. He has filled us and sealed us with his very own Sprit that we might have His power and focus to accomplish what is best for His reputation and His teaching. This is the word of the Lord – with some paraphrasing to help us see it anew. Let your life reflect your gratitude.