"Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." Colossians 4:1 NHEBAs we enter the last chapter of this small letter, we must remember that Paul is not writing in chapters and verses. He is writing a personal, inspired letter to these people he has never met (2:1). He is continuing the thought of the previous chapter. All these "bullet-point" items at the close of his letter, are intended to train the people in life-style expressions of the love and grace presented in the first part of the book.
He has just instructed the servants to be obedient to their masters, now he turns and addresses those who are masters (ones in authority over - GK -"lords") how to behave toward their servants. In our world today, these terms would be employees and employers. We do not live in a master/servant world. But the same attitudes of heart are to be expressed by us to those who work over us and under us in the authority chain of our work. The every day life of the believer becomes our training ground for Kingdom lordship. For everything we are a part of is related to Kingdom.
If you will look back at the instructions for servants, "Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord." I find it interesting the encouragement here is obedience, not submission. The heart of submission is to be working in a covenant relationship. In a relationship that is employment based, that is not what is being encouraged. We need to allow the Lord to teach us these great differences in relationships, so our grace expression can be a blessing - everywhere.
Since the employer has a master, and now is one, it is the encouragement to be fair and non partial (or equal) in dealing with those in your care and oversight. This eliminates the "put-down," the "mock-out," the manipulations and control so often characteristic of those in places of authority toward those below. (In church as well as in world). In Christ, since we all have a master (Lord), or someone in authority, over us, we would do well to treat others with honor and respect regardless of what their position is in life - over or under. When their position is not what we are ultimately regarding, we can honor and bless, all the while keeping lines of authority in place.
When we truly understand the Lord is not impressed with titles or "position," (or anointing or gifting) and it is Him we are expressing, then we learn not to be "men-pleasers" any longer. I think everyone alive has this to learn. We, in Christ Jesus, have someone else in charge of our promotion or lack of it. We need to bless Him in our interactions with others and be a person of great integrity expressing encouragement and respect. This then becomes the training ground for lordship in the Kingdom.