Our text is from the book of John chapter 13 verse 13. Messiah, Himself, took upon Him the form of a servant and said these words to his disciples and then continued by saying:
'I am among you as One who serves.'
He had taken off His robe, He had tied a towel around His waist, He got a basin and water, and He'd gone round and washed their feet. That's a very humbling thing to do in that part of the world, for one person to wash another person's feet, that's very humbling. He did it for all His Disciples, Judas included. So when GOD speaks to us and He says, 'You be good servants, you be good masters,' He, Himself has set the example.
We are also fellow human beings. Whatever our status in society is, we are human beings. We belong to each other. We are to respect each other. We're to respect the image of GOD in each other. GOD made man in His Own image, and in each of us there is something of the image of GOD! I don't say the life of GOD, that is for the Believer. But the image of GOD is on every human being. There are some that we naturally dislike more than others, still, we should respect them for the image of GOD. James brings it out in his letter,
'We shouldn't bless GOD with our tongue, and use the same tongue to curse our fellow men who are made in the image of GOD. It's like a fountain sending out sweet water and bitter at the same time.'
We also share a common redemption. That's something else for the Christian boss, or the Believing boss to remember. We share a common redemption. When GOD imposed a certain tax on His people, it was called 'redemption money'. It was to be five shekels of silver.
'The poor shall not give less, the rich shall not give more. Everyone, for the redemption of his soul, shall bring the same amount.' It was to teach that whatever our condition before life, we are all equal in the sight of GOD. 'And our salvation also'. In salvation there are no first-class and second-class citizens. We're all exactly the same.
Bad masters use threatenings, they use unfair dealings. We're told bad masters also rule with a hard hand. Mrs. Brand comes to mind; a Jewish lady, survivor of the Holocaust. She got into the employment of a rich lady, and that rich lady made her work! 'Move the furniture!' 'Dust here!' 'Sweep here!' 'Wash here!' She kept her working hard until poor Mrs. Brand was exhausted. And she said, 'I'm sorry, Madam, I'm exhausted. I need a bit of rest. I'm not a machine.' 'Oh,' said the lady, 'just need a little bit of oil in the machine and then you can keep going.' She wouldn't let Mrs. Brand take ten minutes, twenty minutes to rest to get back some of her stamina. That's a bad boss! That rich woman knew very well that Mrs. Brand had come from the Concentration Camps. She had no pity; no compassion. Bad masters.
Unlawful demands also; bad masters make unlawful demands. They misuse their authority. Like the Amalekite who left his Egyptian servant to die because the servant had fallen sick. David and his men were chasing after the Amalekites who had raided their town, and they found this Egyptian slave of the Amalekite. He hadn't eaten, he hadn't drunk for three days. What did David do? He had to chase after those Amalekites, because they had captured his family, and all his men's families. They had raided the town. They had set it on fire; they had robbed everything, including the people, the wives and the children.
David wanted to catch up with them. But here was a young slave, an Egyptian slave dying in the hot mid-Eastern sun, dying of hunger and thirst. So they forced water into his mouth. They made him eat a bunch of raisins. They revived him a bit, and there we see David, a good master, thinking about the life of this man; not saying, 'It's only a slave, he's nearly dead anyway. I've got more important business to do.'
And as it turned out, that Egyptian slave, when he revived, was able to tell them which direction the Amalekites had taken. David found that his kindness was rewarded because he was able to overtake the Amalekites, and scatter them and recapture all those families that they had lost.
Good masters; good masters. What does a good master do? He's not jealous of his servant. If he sees that his servant has talent, he gives his servant every opportunity to train, even if it means that his servant is going to end up being better at the job than the boss is. That's a good master. He doesn't think of himself. He thinks about his employee. 'How can I teach them to exploit their potential to the maximum?'
Also giving rewards for faithful service. GOD said when you have a Hebrew slave, he must only serve for six years. And during those six years, you must be very careful not to tyrannize your servant. Treat him as though he was a paid employee, even though he is your slave. That's what GOD told him to do. That's what a master does. And at the end of his term, after six years, don't just say, 'Thank you, and good bye.' Give him food; give him money; give him possessions; give him a couple of animals so that he can live independently, and that he won't have to be a slave again.
That's the way the Law of Moses eliminated slavery. It didn't attack slavery head on. But by these kind, beneficial, benevolent rules, slavery was eliminated. In the United States, there is still a problem, isn't there? Even after that Civil War against slavery, there is still a problem. Perhaps if the problem of slavery in the United States had been dealt with the way the Word of GOD indicates, the results would have been much happier.
A good master only makes lawful demands on his servants. He's not unreasonable. He gives them plenty of time to rest. One of the Ten Commandments is: On the Sabbath Day you shall rest; your servant shall rest; your animals shall rest.