Summary: If we as believers want to make a real difference in our world, then we start at work where we honor our boss and help our brother (if he is a believing boss).
A photographer was snapping pictures of first graders at an elementary school, making small talk to put his subjects at ease.
“What are you going to be when you grow up?” he asked one little girl.
“Tired,” she said. (J. R. Love, Rushton, Louisiana; www.PreachingToday.com)
Is that all our work gets us? Tired? For this little girl that seemed to be the only thing the adults in her life got from their work.
Tell me: Do you want to get more out of your work than just “tired?” Do you want a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment from your job? Then I invite you to turn with me to 1 Timothy 6, 1 Timothy 6, where the Bible shows us how our labor can have real significance not only for ourselves, but for the world in which we live, and for eternity.
1 Timothy 6:1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. (NIV)
Now, you have to understand that this was written in a context where half of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves. In fact, there were 60 million of them! The Bible does not explicitly condemn the institution of slavery, but its teachings, wherever they have gone, have done more to undermine the institution of slavery around the world than anything else. The fact is, although there were 60 million slaves at the time these words were written in the middle of the 1st Century, by the end of the 2nd Century, slavery had widely disappeared.
Do you know why? It was because of the impact of Christian teaching and the influence of Christians throughout the Empire. You see, wherever Christianity has gone, people have learned that there is no such thing as a slave or a free person in God’s eyes. No. In Christ we are ALL one, Galatians 3:28 says. We ALL have equal value before God and should be treated with equal respect no matter what our status in society is.
Even so, the Bible does not call for Christians to demand their rights and revolt against the social order. No. The Bible calls us to a different way to change our world. Do you want to make a real difference in your world? Then start at work by treating your boss with respect.
HONOR YOUR BOSS.
Consider him worthy of full respect, verse 1 says. Value him even if he is a despot. That in fact is the Greek word for “master” in this verse. It’s the word “despot,” and it literally means slave owner or slave master.
Some of you have worked for bosses like that, haven’t you? They have been slave drivers; and because of that, you lost all respect for them.
Just a few years ago (2007), some researchers at Florida State University took a survey through which they discovered that employees who endure abuse from their bosses retaliate with poor performance. Such abuse included the silent treatment, personal put-downs, broken promises, and managers blaming their mistakes on employees to save face.
Employees with difficult bosses responded in the following ways:
• 30 percent slowed production or purposely made errors (compared to 6 percent who reported no abuse)
• 29 percent took sick days off when they were not ill (compared to 4 percent of those not abused)
• 27 percent purposely avoided their boss (compared to 4 percent of those not abused)
• 25 percent took longer breaks (compared with 7 percent of those not abused)
–Jeanna Bryner, Abused Workers Fight Back by Slacking Off, LiveScience.com, 10-8-07, at Yahoo News; www.PreachingToday.com.
Well, the Bible calls us as followers of Christ to respond differently than the rest of the world. God wants us to treat even abusive bosses with respect. Literally, He wants us to consider them worthy of “all value.”
After all, they are people created in the image of God; and when God’s grace touches them,
they are capable of reflecting His glory and His beauty. Besides that, your boss is a person for whom Christ died. God values your boss enough to purchase his or her redemption with His own Son’s shed blood on the cross. Your boss is extremely valuable to God; and if we would value our bosses as God does, then there is no way we would give them anything less than our best.
The story is told of a man who was having dinner with his parents at a stylish London restaurant. The food was superb, and the setting—complete with chandeliers, crystal and silver—was unbelievably elegant. Even so, his mother felt the need for a little salt when the main course arrived. She tried each of the three silver shakers on the table and discovered that each contained pepper. She called the waiter over only to be told that she must be mistaken. Each table always contained two dispensers of pepper and one of salt.