Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 6:5-9

“Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with Him.”  (Ephesians 6:9)

Leadership is a stewardship granted to some by the Master of all.  God is the source of all the authority structures we live under.  “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God”  (Romans 13:1).  Paul was speaking of civil government in this case, but the principle applies to all authority structures God has established.  He has placed the husband as head of his wife (5:23).  He gave parents authority over their children (6:1).  And God established authority structures in the workplace (6:5).  Because these authority structures were established by God, those in positions of authority must recognize that they are responsible to God for their leadership.

The instructions to masters (employers, supervisors, managers, etc.)  is that they are to “do the same to them.”  Paul had just instructed slaves (employees) to do the will of God from the heart, by rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man (vs. 6,7).  A leader’s first responsibility is to do the will of God from the heart.  Leaders must seek God first in their lives.  They must be dedicated to follow His will and His ways as they lead people.

Employers are to respect the value of their employees as image bearers of God.  They are therefore not to be threatening but rather to be servant leaders who look after the welfare of their employees.  All human life is valuable because men and women are made in the image of God.

Jesus set the example of leadership.  His leadership style was that of a servant.  All authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him (Matthew 28:18).  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).  Yet, look at the way he treated people.  He sought their best interests and He sought to serve them.  Jesus certainly exercised His authority, but He did it in a respectful and loving way.

When I came to First Presbyterian Church here in Greenville as the Executive, I met with our fairly large staff and gave them my philosophy — we are going to be a family and a team, operating in a culture of brokenness and grace.  First, we are to be a family.  We are part of God’s family; we are brothers and sisters.  We will care for one another as a family cares for its family members.  We will deal with conflict as a family.  We will lovingly correct and if necessary even discipline.  Second, we are a team.  We have been employed by the church and therefore have a responsibility to get our jobs done.  We are to work heartily as unto the Lord, rendering the best we have to offer.  And thirdly, we are going to operate in a culture of brokenness and grace.  We are to recognize our own weaknesses, sinfulness, and failures.  We are also to acknowledge that we are all sinners before God and do not deserve all that He has done for us.  As God has extended grace to us through Jesus, so we are to extend grace to one another through Jesus.  This philosophy of leadership reflects Christ’s servant leadership model.

Those in positions of authority must realize that they will be held accountable to God for the way they exercise their authority.  “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that You also have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1).  We will all stand before the judgment seat of God one day.  We are all accountable for the way we treat other people.  God’s will is for us to treat them justly and fairly, not threatening them, but lovingly leading them.

Lord Jesus, I know I have a huge responsibility in my role as leader of my family and as a leader in our church.  Grant me the ability to lead well.  Let me follow Your example of servant leadership.  Let me put the interest of others ahead of my own interests.  Let me lead out of my own brokenness and give me the ability to grant grace to those whom I lead.


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