Honour the Boss

Many years ago I was approached by a stranger who recognised me from my TV program. The young man hurried up and wanted to shake my hand and thank me. It turns out he watched my half-hour TV preaching program from time to time, although he was not a Christian, and was impacted by a lesson I gave on honouring our employer.
He had not been very good at that, often finding fault with things at work and telling the boss what he thought. The young man was not able to hold down a job for very long. After watching my message, the man changed his attitude and decided to honour his boss. That led to him keeping the job and being promoted to foreman. He had held the job for several years by the time he met me. He said his wife was wonderfully happy since he could now bring home a reliable income for their growing young family.
I was quite delighted to hear that report, but also struck by how a young man could have missed some basic instruction on how to fit in with an employer.
Let me review some Bible instruction for employees.
“Submit to your masters (bosses) with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” 1Peter 2:18
“Consider your masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.” 1Timothy 6:1
“Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and sincerity of heart, as if you were obeying Christ.” Ephesians 6:5
I like that idea suggested in Ephesians 6:5 about serving our masters as if we are serving the Lord. That thought is amplified in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae.
“Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; Knowing that you will receive the reward of the inheritance from the Lord: for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23,24
The attitude we are to have toward our boss at work is the same attitude we are to have in all we do, doing things as if doing them for Christ, not for the boss or for ourselves.
With that attitude our work becomes a form of worship.
Imagine a situation where work has become very unpleasant and most people are grumbling. If you grumble too then you are just like everyone else. But if you can say to yourself, “I don’t like this but I will do my best, as an act of worship to God”, you will live entirely differently to everyone else.
Let me add a disclaimer that being asked to do something immoral or illegal is excluded here, because Christ would never ask us to do that. We may have to take a stand against an evil instruction, losing our job if that’s what results, because we are doing things “for the Lord” so we must uphold godly standards.
Imagine what a shock it must have been for the employer of that young man I met years ago. The young man’s attitude was arrogant and prideful, disrespecting his boss. After taking God’s Word to heart he stopped being arrogant about his opinions and submitted to what the boss thought was best, even if he thought he could do it a better way. And he gave the boss respect. It’s no wonder he kept the job and was promoted.
We have many ‘bosses’ or masters over our lifespan, from parents to teachers, tutors, lecturers, trainers, club leaders, team captains, employers, church leaders, and so on. We are to give each of them our dutiful service, as if we are serving Christ.
That sounds nice as a thought, but it can be very difficult in practice. Many a child resents the decisions of their parents. Many a wife resents the leadership of her husband. Many a student scorns their teacher. Many a club or team member resents the way they are treated in that group.
In our day there is a strong draw to being individuals, having things as we want them, doing our own thing, speaking up for ourselves, ‘pushing back’ against those who impose on us, and so on. That cultural value, however, means we can easily disrespect those in authority in our lives and end up being arrogant and self-serving.
Christ wants to save you from that by emphasising your submission to Him, by submitting to and giving honour to all those who are placed over you.
Honour the Boss (whatever form of ‘boss’ you have, from parent to husband to leader) and you are honouring Christ. Dishonour your boss and you are dishonouring Christ, because how you respond to them reflects how you respond to Christ and God.
Become people of honour and allow God to honour you.
God says, “Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be despised.” 1Samuel 2:30

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