As someone who has been in the workforce for over 45 years now, I have come to this realization – I have been a good and bad worker and as well I have been a good and bad boss. I know that at times I have failed to meet the expectations of my boss and at other times I have also failed those who have worked for me.
For everyone that has ever had a boss, you know how pleasurable it can be when that person meets your expectation of a boss. Maybe your boss’s expectation goes something like this: a good boss never overworks you, gives you plenty of time off, dispenses raises frequently, and certainly does not scold you for playing solitaire on your work computer. When working for a person like that, fulfilling your role as a good worker is a breeze!
However, we would agree that the person in authority over you falls short at times of your expectations for a boss. What if this person is ungrateful for the work you do? Are they excessively critical or negative towards you and constantly making unrealistic demands of you? Does this change your role as a worker? Do you become a bad worker because you have a bad boss?
As with all things in life, we should look for wisdom in the Word of God. In 1 Peter 2:18 (NKJV), we read, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.”
I do not know about you, but this Scripture made me pause. That is why I continued to read it over and over and over again. Eventually, my understanding became this – workers (servants) are to be obedient (submissive) to their bosses (masters) no matter what kind of boss they are! Regardless of whether they are gentle or harsh to me, my reaction towards them is to be the same. I am to be obedient (submissive) out of reverence (fear). It is a fact of life that in any society or organization, there must be an authority on the one hand, and obedience to that authority on the other. Without it we have chaos.
If the lack of chaos in the workplace is not enough for you, then hopefully the next verse helps, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.”
God is pleased when He finds us so conscious of our relation to Him that we endure wrongful doing without upholding self or fighting back. When we humbly take unjust treatment, we display Christ, and this gains us favor with God and is a witness to the world that so desperately needs Him! This does not imply that working for the “bad boss” is our only option, it just means that while we are employed, we are to work remembering Christ’s example.
God’s plan to rescue the world from sin was contingent on the obedience of Jesus as He suffered unjustly, submitting to the authority and will of God.
Whether you work for a “good boss” or “bad boss,” God has a plan for your obedience.