For the Lord
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Colossians 3:22—4:1 ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord’ (3:23)

We might be surprised at the length of Paul’s household instructions regarding slavery, especially compared with the short directives regarding husbands and wives and parents and children.

Perhaps Paul treats this subject in more detail because of the situation with Onesimus, who was a slave of Philemon’s who ran away after wronging his master, probably by stealing money.

Paul wrote to Philemon, who was most likely a member of the Colossian church, after Onesimus repented and came to new life in Christ.

He says he will send Onesimus back to Philemon while pleading that Philemon will set him free and forgive him his wrongs.

That situation on his mind may mean Paul spends more time looking at the slave/master relationship in this letter.

Again, he doesn’t challenge the cultural conventions, but encourages the believers to act godly within them.

If they are slaves, then they are to respect their masters not only when the master is watching them, but also when they are not. And masters are to treat their slaves fairly.

We may not (thankfully) be slaves or masters, but note how Paul’s instructions can apply to us today, especially ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord’ (v23).

We may or may not be in paid employment, but whatever the task before us, we can work with all our passion and commitment, doing an excellent job because want to honour God.

After all, if Jesus is our boss, wouldn’t we want to work with all our might and energy (while also knowing that our identity doesn’t depend on what we do)?


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A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You set us free from slavery, and that You long for justice in our societies. May I too work towards this goal. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Research an organisation battling the sex trade and pray about how you can support them.

Scripture To Consider:
Gen. 1:15–17; Ps. 90:16–17; Eph. 4:28–29; 2 Thess. 3:10–12

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.