Prescription for Servants/Employees
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered August 13, 2006
"Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Titus 2:9-10
This particular section is addressed to servants. The Greek word used here is doulouv doulous (doo’-los), which refers slaves, those who were owned by others. The Roman Empire depended upon slaves who did most of the labor in their culture. However, when we think of a slave, likely our minds paint a picture of an uneducated person who does menial labor. If that is the picture you have cast in your mind that is an incorrect picture. Many of the slaves captured in war were the "cream of the crop" so to speak. Many were highly educated or brilliant craftsmen. They would be similar to Daniel and his three friends taken captive to Babylon, or Joseph, who was put in charge of running Potiphar’s house.
Today, we do not live in a slave-oriented culture as in New Testament or times. But before you start day dreaming about something else, because you think it has no bearing us today, let me advise you that the instructions that Paul gives to servants have an important and appropriate application to Christian employees.
Let’s look at Paul’s prescription to servants and
apply them to employees.
The first thing that he says is that they are to be obedient. The word translated obedient is upotassesyai hupotassesthai (hoop-ot-tass-es-thai) from the root word upotasswhupotasso which means to be subject to or under the authority of another. You will
remember in our study of young women in verse 5, we ran across this same word. To refresh you memory, obedient – hupotasso is a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden". An employee puts themselves under the authority of their employer in the context of their job.
There is another thing you should know about the
word (phrase) "to be obedient unto." It is a
passive imperative verb. Therefore, it is a command, not
a suggestion. A Christian employee is to cooperate with and do their
best to do what their employer asks them to do.
The phrase please them well
is a translation the Greek word euarestouv
euarestous (yoo-ar’-es-tous) which carries with it the
idea of being committed to excellent in your work. Far too
many people "just put in their time" so to speak. This is wrong! Our
testimony as a Christian employee is at stake. Therefore we should
be diligent to do our best. This is pointed out in Colossians
3:22-24 "Servants, obey in all things your masters
according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in
singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do
it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the
inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Christians are urged to
be a good testimony to their employers by being diligent in carrying
out their instructions and having a good attitude. Be committed
The phrase "not answering again" has the thought of not talking back or criticizing. This phrase does not prohibit the believer from standing up for their convictions of what is right, proper and God-honoring (see Acts 5:29). However, does prohibit belligerence merely for one’s own agenda or self-interests.
The point is this: If a worker does have the
opportunity to express his opinion then go ahead. But, when
management makes the final decision, it should be followed
regardless of one’s own personal preferences.
The word purloining is not a word that we commonly use. The English word purloin literally means to take or carry away for one's self; hence, to steal; to take by theft. The Greek word translated purloining is very similar. It carries the fundamental idea of to put far away from another; to set apart for one's self; hence to purloin and appropriate to (steal for) one's own use.
Today, employee thefts are a BIG, BIG problem.
These it adds plenty to the cost of item. Christians should not
steal from their employees (Ephesians 4:38).
The idea here is that a Christian employee is to be loyal. "Good fidelity" is the translation Greek word pistos which is commonly translated faith or faithfulness. A Christian employee is to be faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, and hence loyal to his employer.
That brings us to the results of being an obedient employee, committed to excellence, who does not verbally undermine his employer, and does not steal from him, but is faithful and dependable. That result is, "they…adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
The word adorn is a translation of the Greek word kosmwsin kosmosin (kos-mos-in) form where we get our word cosmetics. Basically what Paul is saying here is that when a slave or by application an employee practices what he has just taught them, it attracts the unsaved employer to the teachings of the Bible. On the other hand when a Christian employee does not follow instructions, does a shoddy job, steals and is not dependable, that brings reproach on the name of Christ and the cause of the Gospel.
In conclusion, this brings to an conclusion our this section in Titus 2 where Paul lay out what behavior is expected in…
Mature Men – v.2
Mature Women – v.3
Younger Women – vs. 4-5
Young Men – vs. 6-8
Employees – vs. 9-10