“Life is not divided into sacred and secular categories. Everything we do is for God’s glory.” —Charles R. Swindoll
If you are or were once employed in the workforce, you understand the value of a great boss...someone who is caring, equitable, and respectful. In many ways, the relationships we have with those in authority over us determine whether we enjoy (or don’t enjoy) our work. When essential characteristics are lacking in those at the top, our jobs can become unpleasant and unsatisfying, creating a challenge to our attitudes. Being caught in the midst of this awkward dilemma forces us to ask, How should I respond to this kind of leader? To discover the surprising answer we must first examine the truth about our work as set forth in Scripture.
Work is fundamentally a good gift from God. As we consider our thinking about work, four statements can help us move toward a more well-rounded vision.
- First, Jesus Christ is Lord over all of life
- Second, life is not divided into the categories of sacred and secular
- Third, the nature of your work is good, not evil
- Fourth, the way you do your work is a direct reflection on the One who called you to do it
But what about those occasions when we find ourselves in the difficult situation of working for someone who doesn’t treat people well? How should we respond?
Peter advocated that Christians “submit to all human authority,” (1 Peter 2:13). When it comes to work, we don’t have to believe our bosses are inherently good people who don’t make mistakes or naturally avoid wicked desires. We can recognize the fallenness of these men and women, even as we give the respect due to them.
When it comes to working with difficult bosses, most often we need to resist our natural inclinations, lest we fall into sin ourselves. A few practical lessons will help direct our thoughts in these situations so our lives become characterized by Christlike perseverance.
- First, resist when you are called upon to do what is wrong. The Lord doesn’t expect us to engage in sinful behaviour
- Second, resist when your conscience is being violated
- Third, resist when innocent people will be affected by your doing evil
Are there certain attitudes about work in general that you need to change? What are they and how will you seek to change them?