Resetting the Workplace: Boss
This morning we’re continuing with our series, Relationship Reset. The big idea of this series is that our encounter with Jesus changes how see and interact with people. This morning, we’re looking at our relationship with our work boss.
Everyone of us has someone to whom we answer. All of us have some authority over us. That authority may be your boss or a board of directors. Even if you are no longer in the every-day work world there is an authority over you.
I’ve had work situations where I’ve had great and not so great bosses. My first experience with not-so-great bosses came early in my work life. As a young man I worked in restaurants and at this one particular restaurant, the bosses were very poorly trained. It was hard to work under their authority, but I learned very quickly, my opinion of their competence did not diminish their authority over me. I had to learn that lesson. I also had great bosses. My first boss while working in banking was great. His name was Chuck and it was a pleasure working under his authority. I bet each of us has similar experiences.
Being connected to Jesus Christ even resets our relationship our boss/authority. We no longer have to simply endure their authority. Our faith in Jesus calls us to honor the authorities over us and as we do that we are honoring and worshipping God. Our relationship to our boss serves as a witness to the world. PRAY
The phenomenon of every-day bosses is pretty new in history. Prior to the Industrial Revolution most people were farmers, herders or craftsmen. While back then workers probably had a Lord or Prince over you governmentally, you woke up every day your own boss. It was only with the unset of mass-production and manufacturing that every-day bosses started to become the norm.
So the Bible doesn’t directly speak about bosses and to the employee situation that most of us know. The closest thing to what we know as an employee is what the Apostle Paul knew as an indentured or bonded servant. They weren’t slaves, but they also weren’t free. People in Paul’s days could get themselves in debt and were unable to repay. People in this situation, looking to avoid debtor’s prison, would give themselves to a richer person for a period of time as a bonded-servant. In return the richer person would pay off the debt. Many think this is what Paul refers to in Ephesians 6:5 Slaves (or Servants), obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.
In today’s 2nd reading we heard a similar thing. 1 Peter 2:13a, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority….
The marching orders are pretty clear, servants or employees, listen to your boss, respect and fear that boss. Serve your boss with sincerity.
As I encounter Jesus…as my faith in Jesus is strengthened, my life gets shaped and the way I treat people, even my boss, changes. We see this transformation in Gal. 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
As Followers of Jesus I know who is the Lord of Lords, King of kings and I also might say Boss of bosses. I know that while my boss is immediately over me, Jesus is his authority, his Boss. This doesn’t mean I no longer have to listen to him or her. That attitude will rightly get me fired.
Your faith breathes new life into your workplace and your relationship to your boss. By serving your boss, you are serving the ultimate authority, Jesus. As you honor your boss you are honoring Jesus. As you give your best effort to your boss, you are giving your best effort to Jesus. As you are honest toward your boss, you’re being honest to Jesus. But the opposite also is true…as I dishonor my boss I dishonor Jesus. As I speaking all nice and respectfully to face of my boss and then while behind his back tell everyone what an idiot he or she is, I am dishonoring Jesus. As I do the minimum of work for my boss and only give half-hearted work…I dishonor Jesus.
My faith in Jesus calls me to a high calling and behavior. The Bible uses the word “self-control” or in the older translations it says “sensible” to describe how we should relate to others. We see this word used in Titus 2, which gives older men and women and young men and women instructions on how to relate to one another. In every case is says as people of faith we should be self-controlled or sensible. The Greek meaning of this word communicates the sense that I don’t allow the emotions and sentiment of the moment to control my words or behavior. I allow my faith to control my words and behavior.
So my boss may not be perfect, my boss may make decisions that I do not agree with, but my faith controls my sentiment, words and behavior. I give to my boss the respect, honor and hard work that I believe I should give to Jesus.
This can be hard to do. Why? We ourselves, like our boss, have been corrupted by sin. We no longer live in a world of God’s perfect design. Our disobedience to God destroyed that and we now live in a very broken world.
Have you ever worked with someone who gives no respect for the boss? For this person, the boss was incapable of doing anything good. Nothing good ever comes out of this situation.
Earlier I mentioned as a young man working in a restaurant I had some not-so-good bosses. It was a bad experience, but it was only later in my life that I realize how much of the fault of that situation fell on me. My disrespect, my lack of honor disrespected and dishonored not only my boss, but also God. Lord…forgive me.
Fortunately, the God who reveals himself to us in the Bible loves forgiveness. He loves forgiveness so much he sent his Son, Jesus into this world to forgive our sins. That’s exactly what he did on the cross. Romans 3:23-25, For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. So when I fall short of honoring and respecting my boss, I confess my behavior to God and thank him for the forgiveness he freely gives to me in Jesus.
So I approach my relationship with my boss and my work place with a heart of faith. The Bible has a very special word to describe an activity that I approach with faith. Can you think of that word? The Bible calls it worship. Rom. 12:1, And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
When my faith directs me to honor and respect my boss and I follow that direction, my workplace becomes for my worship of God.
Another thing I love about this faith-saturated way of relating to my boss and my work is that it embeds dignity in any type of work. All types of work, when done to honor and respect God has the dignity and honor of worshiping God.
But as my faith in Jesus shapes my attitude, words and work…the world takes notice. Relationships get better. The whole environment of work is better because of your presence. The quality and quantity of work gets better. People start to notice you are different in a good way, in a way of high integrity, grace and truth.