Full Respect

Several times, I’ve heard people say here where we are that this person or that person is a good brother in Christ, and the evidence that this is the case is that they have given the person that is telling me this a good price on a particular good or service. Hmm… Not sure that is necessarily a good bit of evidence for their brotherhood.

In fact, I would tend to say that this says something negative about the person that is telling me this. I understand that it is important to be generous, and so I appreciate that the other person is trying to help someone out. However, ff we are basing our decision about whether or not someone is a good brother in Christ, we should of course be looking at other factors, not just the fact that they are willing to reduce their price for someone. What is more, I would suggest that, in the same way that the other person is willing to be generous to their brother or sister in Christ, we should be willing, and maybe even insist, on paying the full price to show complete respect in return to the person who is selling the product or service. In other words, the generosity should go both ways.

Paul was speaking to slaves who served their owners, explaining that they shouldn’t look try to get out of their duties to their masters just because both parties are believers in Christ. No, instead, they should work all the more, showing full respect toward other believers.

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

1 Timothy 6:1-2

Of course, this is an even greater level of respect and generosity. Within the context of slavery at that time, I can imagine that the relationship between slave and master was not always easy. I can also imagine that the slave would want to find ways in which they could lighten their load of the work. Wouldn’t it make sense that, if they are both believers in Christ, that the master would lighten the load of the slave who is also a believer?

Maybe in a worldly way of thinking that would be the case. Maybe similar, at least conceptually, to the situation that we see above. But that is not the way of Christ. Jesus taught us that if someone slaps you, give them the other cheek as well. If someone takes your shirt, give them your coat as well. If someone wants you to go with them one mile, instead go two miles.

The point here is that we are to give so that our giving is glorifying to Christ. In this case, the slave is to give respect to the master, not expecting any preferential treatment. He is instead to hand over his work in generosity to the other person. Whether as an unbeliever, or most especially as a believer, to give full respect for the glory of Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *