A Christian isn’t a Christian unless he’s a Christian seven days a week. The gospel should affect more than just our church life, it should make powerful changes in our work life. If you had to give a title to verses 5-9 it might read: “What Happens When Jesus Shows Up At Work”. Slaves and masters are addressed here which would translate into boss and employee in our current culture. Both the worker and the supervisor are advised to be sensitive to the fact that Jesus is present with them in their work. If you know that Christ is with you and wants to use you at your place of work, then He will provide some positive peer pressure for you to work “from the heart” (v. 6) and to be the same kind of worker when the boss is watching and when he isn’t. (v. 5) If your work is hard and unrewarding then there is a precious promise for you to cling to here. Paul promises that, “whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord”. (v. 8) Maybe you have a crummy boss who is very hard to please, but remember that God always sees you and will be sure to reward your faithfulness. Try to remember that there have been many Christian slaves throughout history whose conditions were far worse than yours, but they found solace in these promises.
For bosses, the basic advice is the same: remember that Jesus is there with you. He is not impressed by your title, corner office, and fat salary package. (v. 9) Treat your subordinates with respect and honor, because even though you may be “a boss” you are not “the Boss”. Your work is a stewardship that God has given you and one day you will have to give an account of how you have labored to Him.