Slave or Master?
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 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. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
9 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 favorites. (NLT)
A slave is one that is completely subservient to another. A master is one having authority over another. Both serve the true Master.
As Christians, can we obey the master but still resent him? Yes, we can, but that is not what we are told to do. In this passage we are to joyfully serve, respect and obey even when we don't necessarily like the earthly master, whether he is present or away. Doing so pleases Jesus.
Our service should be done not only to please the earthly master but Jesus. In today's society, many people simply work to please their boss whether it pleases Jesus or not. Service done to please man will not be rewarded, but service to a master that pleases Jesus will be rewarded.
Is there such a thing as a Christian Master? Yes, there is! Jesus wants the Christian Master to treat his slaves (employees) the same and in a way that is pleasing to Jesus, and he too will be rewarded for his service. Masters that fail to respect their employees displease Jesus. Jesus is all knowing and rewards those that do good in his sight.
I worked as a Safety Engineer for 34 years. During that time, I had bosses that were Christian and non-Christian. I was always an employee (slave) never a boss (master). I can't say that I always served with a happy heart, but I did make every effort to perform to the best of my ability. I received earthly rewards for my service in the form of promotions and raises, but I have yet to receive my heavenly rewards.
Are you seeking earthly or heavenly rewards?