Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and He has no favourites.Ephesians 6:9
Did you find out what Paul meant by “Masters, treat your slaves the same way”? What same way?
Well it is clear isn’t it, that this comment had to have an antecedent, something which preceded it to which Paul is referring. So what is the antecedent?
There are two possibilities:
1) It refers to the “submit to one another” of verse 5:21.
For this to be the case it stretches the imagination too much. Not so much in terms of the grammatical structures but more in terms of the logic of it all. It borders on the inconceivable that Paul would suggest masters also submit to slaves as well as slaves submitting to masters. That would be taking it too far I think. And furthermore such a link would necessitate the same kind of submission for parents toward their children if that were the case. That too is too much to ask. If that is the case this is extremely radical thinking. I believe the link is more likely to be found closer to hand.
2) It refers to the immediate context in the previous verses related to slaves.
Namely: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.Ephesians 6:5-8
So what is there about this section that Paul picks up on and says Masters, treat your slaves the same way?
Show the same regard to God’s will, and to your servants’ well-being, in your relation to them, as they ought to have in their relation to you. Love regulates the duties both of servants and masters. Equality of nature and faith is superior to distinctions of rank. Christianity makes all men brothers: compare Lev 25:42, Lev 25:43; Deut 15:12; Jer 34:14 as to how the Jews were bound! to treat their brethren in service; how much more ought Christians to act with love. (Jamieson. Fawcett & Brown’s commentary]
They were, to demonstrate toward their servants the same spirit which he had required servants to show toward them – kindness, fidelity, and respect for the will of God. He had required servants to act conscientiously; to remember that the eye of God was upon them, and that in that condition in life they were to regard themselves as serving God, and as mainly answerable to him. The same things the apostle would have masters feel. They were to be faithful, conscientious, just, true to the interests of their servants, and to remember that they were responsible to God. They were not to take advantage of their power to oppress them, to punish them unreasonably, or to suppose that they were freed from responsibility in regard to the manner in which they treated them. In the corresponding passage in Colossians (Col 4:1), this is, “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal”. [Barnes commentary]
This does not refer to service and obedience, but to singleness of heart, benevolence, humanity, and a regard to Christ, and the will of God, and to the doing of good things, and to the performance of their duty, as they would have their servants do theirs; whose duty, if religious masters, is, with respect to their souls, to instruct them in, and use them to religious exercises, to pray with them, and for them, to set them good examples, to prevent them falling into, bad company, and to allow them proper time for religious duties; and with respect to their bodies, and outward concerns, to provide sufficient food and proper raiment for them, or to give them their due wages, to take care of them when sick or lame, and show compassion and humanity to them, to encourage those that are prudent, faithful, and laborious, and to correct the disobedient, and expel the incorrigible. [Gill’s commentary]
I think in this case you Indonesians can read “pembantu” instead of “slave”. Treat your pembantu with dignity too. Show the same regard for your pembantu’s well being, show them kindness and respect. Treat them with honour too. I know that sounds incongruous. “Why should we treat someone with honour who is beneath us on the social ladder? How can we treat them with honour when they are so far below us? It is demeaning of us to do that.” No it’s not, Just imagine what Jesus would do and do that. Be Christ to them. Tania and I think it is funny. We treat our pembantus (house help) with dignity and then we have a friend for life and they want to follow up wherever we go. And we don’t even have to try. Treat them with dignity and it shows, especially if they are fellow believers. Some cultural groups don’t treat them well and that shows too. WWJD.
I love to surprise the poorer people with demonstrations of treating them with dignity and with generosity and watch what happens. I love to shock them with Christ’s generosity; sowing seeds of kindness. I am sure it comes back to me through the hand of God anyway. You can never never ever out-give God. I know I said that when we dealt with Tithing but it is true in every way. I am sure your generosity to the poor, the neglected and the despised will come back to you through the hand of God. Try it and see; it’s fun. Go shock your pembantu now. Bless them out of them socks – ha ha buy new socks for them. Only joking; you can do better than that. Socks are the kind of thing you buy for dads when you don’t know what to buy.
Caregiving for one who cannot possibly pay you back may be the most Christlike thing you do with your life.Rick Warren
Piglet: “How do you spell LOVE?” Winnie The Pooh: “You don’t spell it. You, feel it.”A A Milne
Love can only really be seen and felt through words and action.Joyce Meyer
Dignity does not consist in possessing honours, but in deserving them.Aristotle