I see a lot of people treat their employer as a cash cow, or an ogre, or just a means to an end. They do what they have to do, what they are forced to do, and watch the clock and try to kill time until the whistle blows.
They have no real interest in doing a GOOD job, no pride in their work, all they feel is a resentment of their employers for making them work, while finding every excuse possible to cut corners and goldbrick on the job as much as they can.
I realize that this is a very easy description to apply to people that you know. Lazy bums who are just worthless. But does it describe you? Of course not, you say! Well… let’s see if you DO treat your employer just like you should.
You know, the Bible says a lot on this subject. And I’m willing to bet you don’t measure up. Yes, yes, most people don’t measure up, but that’s not the point! We’re dealing with what YOU should do! How YOU should act! Because surprising though it may be, this subject is CRUCIAL to your SALVATION!
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
This is a scripture that always used to bother me. How can you grow in favor with both God AND man – at the same time? After all, you can’t serve two masters, you have to please one or the other – and of course, you have to please God, so that means men are going to be offended, right? As a matter of fact, what I found as I increased in wisdom and righteousness was that while I may have grown in favor with God, my friends and family weren’t made happier by the change!
1 Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
Instead, what I found is that I made many enemies out of many of these people who were offended because I didn’t do the same things they did, and by not doing those things, I tacitly condemned them without doing or saying a thing to them! And so I saw a contradiction; as I said, I may have grown in favor with God – in fact, I’m sure I did – but I’m equally sure that I did NOT grow in favor with men! In fact, I made enemies out of most of the people I knew!
So how could I harmonize these questions? I heard a lot of religious-sounding answers, but nothing that satisfied me… which was because none of the answers were right… which was because none of the people who gave me those answers understood HOW to grow in favor with God and man, and what it meant!
Let’s remember that Christ was, by trade, a carpenter. This meant that He worked for many different people, as a temporary servant. And it says that He grew in favor with both God AND man. Bearing in mind that this particular verse was written before He started a full-time ministry and therefore, while he was still a carpenter… How did he treat those people He worked for, and with? And how did he react to those he worked for, especially?
Colossians 3:22-25 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, DO IT HEARTILY, AS TO THE LORD, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
It says to do what you do for your masters, as if you were doing it for God! That means that if you are a mechanic, and someone brings a car to you to fix, you should fix it AS IF IT WAS GOD’S CAR! Not doing the least you can get away with to get paid, like those people I talked about at the start of this article, but doing it with ALL YOUR HEART, to do it RIGHT. To do it as if you were doing it for God, Himself.
Now that’s quite a contrast from the way those people deal with their employer. How about you? Let’s just take, oh, the last week or two. Cast your mind back and ask yourself if you’ve done – (or not done!) anything for your employer that you wouldn’t have done to God, Himself, if He was personally, physically hiring you to do the job you’re doing!
Come on… any little thing you’ve done, any corner you’ve cut, any price you might have “padded”, any extra time you spent loafing around the breakroom when you should have been working, or spending time on the internet or playing solitaire at the office instead of finding something important to do… are you SURE you haven’t done anything like this? If you have, well, you’re breaking this commandment in Colossians 3, here, and it’s NO WONDER you’re not growing in favor with God and man!
You see, Christ DIDN’T do anything like that to His boss.. whether it was the guy He was building a house for, or a guy He was selling something, or maybe when He was young He worked for a few days picking grapes for someone… but whenever He worked for someone, whether it was temporary or permanent… well, let’s just read how He treated His employer…
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Christ did not try to do His own will. Practically everyone I’ve ever worked with or around, and certainly everyone I’VE ever hired, has sought HIS will. He wanted to do things HIS way, and if that didn’t jive with MY way, well, we had a fight on our hands! But when Christ worked for someone, He didn’t WANT to do HIS will, He wanted to do the will of Him that sent Him – the will of His boss! When the proverbial mechanic works on someone’s car, he shouldn’t seek to do HIS will, but the will of the owner of the car! IN THIS WAY, he reflects well on God, and GROWS IN FAVOR WITH GOD AND MAN!
But oh, I know the first objection I’m going to hear. “But my boss is a jerk!”… that is what you were thinking, isn’t it? It wasn’t? Oh well, you would have thought of it soon, so I might as well answer it. So your boss is a jerk.. who cares?
1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but ALSO to the froward.
I admit; I’ve worked for some jerks in my time, too. And here is the applicable command. You STILL have to treat them just like you were working for God! You give them a GOOD job, you put your heart into what you’re doing and you put your back into it just like God was standing there watching you! Because… oh wait a minute… God IS standing there watching you! You see, I stopped quoting in 1 Peter there too soon… the next verses are quite well known by many people… but very few realize that their actual context is in WORKING, PHYSICALLY WORKING, for JERKS like your boss!
1 Peter 2:19-21 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
If your boss is a jerk, and so you laze around, and goof off, and mess up half of the job just to get back at him or to get the job done… and he makes you suffer, and he doesn’t pay you, or he complains and makes you do it over, or any of the other stuff bosses can be so famous for… tell me… if you take that patiently, WHO CARES? What’s the big deal? You’ve got suffering COMING! YOU DESERVE IT! You MADE YOURSELF DESERVE IT!
On the other hand, if your boss is a jerk to you after you did a GOOD job, a job you can stand back and be proud of, a job you could take before God and say with pride “I did GREAT work for you, boss!”… well, if he’s a jerk then, and you take it patiently, and give the job %100 anyway… well, now that’s something God notices. And it’s something people notice.
Jacob is a prime example of this. Jacob dealt honorably, some might even say MORE than honorably with Laban – in SPITE of the fact that Laban was unfair and cheated him at least 10 times! And yet look how Jacob dealt with his employer!
Genesis 31:38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
For twenty years Jacob worked with Laban, and we all know how Laban changed his wages, and how he cheated him out of work by marrying him to the wrong daughter, and all the other Catbert-like evil boss things he did, most of which are not recorded for us. And still, throughout all of this, look how Jacob treated Laban. When a wolf got in and ate a sheep, Jacob had every right to disclaim responsibility for it and have Laban pay for it – but he didn’t! And he poured his heart into this job, went hungry and cold and without sleep, all for a boss who was utterly ungrateful, evil, and carnal!
Genesis 31:41-42 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction AND THE LABOUR OF MY HANDS, and rebuked thee yesternight.
Well, well, what have we here. I believe we have the answer to your ungrateful jerk of a boss, now don’t we? Jacob worked for Laban as if he was working for God. He kept those sheep of his as if they were God’s sheep. And he went out of his way to be MORE than fair with his boss – despite having MORE THAN ENOUGH justification, as I’m sure you have, to cheat a bit just to get back what Laban unfairly took from him.
But then, if he’d done that, why, what would have been special about that? God certainly wouldn’t have taken notice. After all, God says vengeance is His, and HE will repay. And here we come to the crux of the matter. God DID repay Jacob. No matter what deal Laban cut with Jacob, God always made sure Jacob came out on top – because GOD SAW HOW HARD JACOB WORKED! And so Laban would change the deal again. Again, God twisted the situation a bit and Jacob came out a winner. But Jacob always just did the right thing and TRUSTED GOD IN FAITH to work things out!
And Jacob’s work NEVER suffered, he was never a slacker, he never tried to avenge himself and get the money he rightfully deserved on his own, and it says that unless GOD HAD PERSONALLY been with Jacob, Laban would have taken everything Jacob had and left him nothing… BUT! God saw what Jacob was going through, and he SAW that he was doing a great job, not for a good and gentle master, but to an evil and selfish one, AND IF, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God!
And so over a period of many years, Christ and Jacob, to quote just two examples, GREW IN FAVOR WITH GOD AND MAN! Because after all of this time, Jacob had never given Laban an excuse to condemn him! Laban KNEW that Jacob had done the very best job anyone could have been asked to do! And what’s even more important, LABAN KNEW THAT GOD WAS WITH JACOB!
Genesis 30:25-27 And it came to pass, … that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
Christ grew in favor with God and man, just as Jacob did, AND JUST AS YOU CAN, by obeying these same rules that tell you HOW to treat an employer! He earned man’s RESPECT, and their willingness to overlook his mistakes, if any, and He would have done so even if he had a boss who was solely interested in using and exploiting Him!
Why? Because when Christ worked on someone’s cabinet, He treated it as if it was God’s cabinet. And I ask you, who wouldn’t respect and admire someone who treated their job as if it was a job for God Himself?
And even if, during or after this, you have to tell someone they are wrong about something they believe – they will still know that you are an honorable person, and someone they can trust. And more importantly, they will not have a single word to say against you!
They won’t be able to say “Yeah, he has this weird religion, but he never does what he says he’ll do, he never does a good job, and half the time he’s here he wastes talking on his cell phone!”
And of course, you could respond “Oh yeah, well you were a hard boss to work for, nothing ever satisfied you, you never paid me like you should, etc…”
But is that really the point? If what he says is even the slightest bit true, aren’t we back to saying “if you are buffeted for your faults and take it well… who cares?”
But if you are blameless before him… if you’ve done a great job, a job that God would be proud to display in his throne room (assuming it fit His decor…) well, this man may hate your religion, but he can’t attack how you’ve worked for him. And if you’ve sought HIS WILL, and your only thoughts were of what HE wanted, not what you’ve wanted… even though he hates your religion, he will have to respect the work that you’ve done. And if he doesn’t, and even if he doesn’t pay you, well… Christ promised that there was no one who had left family, houses, or lands for his sake that wouldn’t receive a hundred times over repayment, IN THIS life!
In other words, if telling someone that Easter is Pagan costs you a job and keeps you from getting paid… and if it’s the ONLY thing that cost you the job, not your laziness or your surly demeanor or your pathetic quality of work… but if you lost this job because you stood for the truth of God, well, God will make it right. This is something that will require trusting God. But hey, isn’t that a big part of what this life is all about?
So bottom line, what are we saying here? We’re saying that if you work for someone for any length of time at all, they should know that you are honorable, and responsible. That you do what you say you’ll do. That you don’t cut corners, or pad bills, even when you could get away with it. That you do GOOD work, and that with each decision you make you ask yourself “Would I do this if I was working on God’s house? Or in God’s office? Or at God’s Taco Bell? Or in God’s gas station?”
The honest answer to that question will tell you the right thing to do. Oh, and we could have just skipped this whole article and just read this next verse… but where would have been the fun in that?
Proverbs 3:1-4 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find FAVOUR and good understanding IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND MAN.