According to our text in Eph 6:5-9, servants should serve their masters as if they were serving the Lord, himself. And masters should treat their servants with the same respect as Christ treats us. Everything we do in our service to men should be done “as unto Christ.” When you serve others as you serve Christ you will:
Serve with submission – Eph 6:5 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him with obedience. Your master is your authority and you are to obey him. The centurion whose servant Jesus healed understood how to serve with submission, Matt 8:8-9. We are to obey Christ and we are to obey those under whom we serve.
Serve with fear – Eph 6:5 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him with fear and trembling. We are to fear and tremble before God, Jer 5:22. The best picture of serving with fear is found in the marine corps. In books written by marine infantry men who served in war, there are accounts of certain marine officers who literally struck fear in their men. One man said that he was more afraid of being reprimanded by his sergeant than he was of the enemy gunfire. He ran through a barrage of bullets, mortars, and artillery to keep from facing the wrath of his commander. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, Phil 2:12-13, and we are to serve our masters with fear and trembling.
Serve with devotion – Eph 6:5 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him in singleness of heart. He does not get sidetracked by distractions. He finishes his jobs. He is reliable, Lk 17:7-10. He is loyal. We are to be totally devoted to Christ and we are to be devoted to our masters, as well.
Serve with faithfulness – Eph 6:6 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him not with eye service, as men pleasers. A faithful servant is a servant who does his duty even when the boss isn’t looking, Phil 2:12. In the parables of the talents, Matt 25, and the pounds, Lk 19, the servants served faithfully while their Lord was gone. We are to be faithful to Christ and we are to be faithful to our masters.
Serve with love – Eph 6:6 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him from the heart. Paul said he “does the will of God from the heart.” The best servants are the ones who love what they do. No matter what the work is, the ones who do it and love it are always the ones who work the best. In Tales From the San’Tone River Bottom, the old hands recounted their days of working cattle on the ranches along the San Antonio River. To the man, they loved their work. My dental hygienist recently said that she was glad to be back at work after the shut down during the coronavirus outbreak because she loves what she does. And she does it well. We are to do the will of God from the heart whether to Christ or our master.
Serve with readiness – Eph 6:7 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him with good will as to the Lord. He is willing hearted and ready to do whatever his master wants him to do. Servants like this remind me of the Jews who worked on the tabernacle in the wilderness, Ex 35-36.
Serve with zeal – Eph 6:8 – a servant who serves his master as unto Christ serves him knowing that he shall receive a reward from the Lord. The incentive to serve an earthly master is greater pay and advancement. The motive for serving as unto Christ is your eternal reward in heaven at the judgment seat of Christ, no matter whether you are paid for your service on earth or not (bond or free).
Conclusion: In Eph 6:9, masters are to forbear threatening servants in the same way that Christ has been forbearing with us, Col 3:13. There is no respect of persons with Christ. He doesn’t regard the master with more respect than he does the servant. If a master treats his servant differently than Christ treats us, he must remember that he, too, has a Master in heaven. And Christ will recompense him according to this rule.