When I was in the Navy, we had a hard time getting some of our sailors to be… productive. One fellow stands out for his unique ability to avoid work. We’ll call him Bill. He was a master at avoiding work.
Each of us had regular watches, where we would monitor various kinds of equipment for about 8 hours a day and, in addition to that, we also had repair assignments and (endless) cleaning assignments. On top of all that, we had “collateral duties.” These were jobs that each of us had to find the time to do: safety, gage calibration, hazardous materials monitoring and such. We were kept busy, and there always seemed to be more that needed to be done.
Well, Bill’s collateral duty was to be the department’s supply petty officer. This is the late 1980’s, so computers were mysterious boxes that required skilled technicians to operate them, or at least, that’s what Bill wanted our supervisors to believe. And they did. So, Bill’s collateral duty was to sit in front of a computer screen, in an air-conditioned part of the ship, and order parts and tools for the department.
But Bill also had a superpower. He had a unique ability to sit in front of the computer for hours and accomplish only enough “work” to have to come back the next day and sit in front of the computer… for hours. Only rarely was Bill available for any actual work, and he almost never got dirty.
Have you ever worked with someone like that? Now, maybe Bill had good reasons for… pacing himself… but Christians must be diligent at work.
Because of our faith, we are called to serve the Lord and represent Him in everything that we do. We are to be known for order and good conduct because of our faith. As Paul is writing this “household code,” in Ephesians 6:1-9 he is giving instructions for the Christians in Ephesus to properly order their households and families based on mutual respect.
Ephesians 6:1-9 deals with the relationship between the head of the first-century household and his children and slaves. Often this was characterized by heavy-handed authority, but the Bible commands something different: obedience based on mutual respect.
There were times when the sailors in Bill’s department wanted to give him a little old-fashioned heavy-handed authority… but he was just too smooth. Followers of Jesus must be motivated by their relationship to Him to give more than the minimal required effort. And leaders are likewise challenged to respect those under their authority!