It’s review time at my company. As is the case every year, the conversation around the proverbial water cooler turns to how much of a raise everyone thinks we are or aren’t going to get, or how the system is “rigged” to reward the favorites on the team while leaving the rest of us high and dry for the next year. Even on a new team, with new management and new teammates, it’s interesting to see how the conversations are the exact same. And even thinking back on working at previous companies, similar discussions were plentiful when reviews were around the corner. I started thinking about how I’ve joined in these grumble-fests all too often, and on what the attitude of a Christian should be when this season begins. It’s super easy to join the chorus of “our manager(s) are incompetent, so I’ll probably get the shaft again,” but what kind of heart does that statement reflect?
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45
I would certainly weaken my testimony for Christ if I was found mocking my boss along with the rest of my team, wouldn’t I? The bible is not silent on the issue of submitting to authorities, and God is never satisfied with empty obedience, that is, going through the motions of submission when your heart is still in rebellion. Therefore, I need to trust that the manager that God put over me (Romans 13:1) is over me for God’s glory, and I need to submit to him/her as far as I’m able. If you’ve got a great boss, that’s a really easy task. But what if your boss could easily be mistaken for the creature from the Black Lagoon? Well, that’s completely different, and the bible… actually gives no excuse for bosses we just don’t like.
“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17
Sounds like a good, general life mission statement, right? But let’s think about those last three words for a minute: Honor the emperor. The emperor in Rome at the time Peter wrote this letter was none other than Nero. You know, the guy who killed his own mom and (allegedly) set the city on fire, and then blamed and murdered Christians for doing it. Peter’s audience was supposed to honor that guy. I’m not sure we have much of a leg to stand on when we feel like complaining about our boss for botching a project or micro-managing our work. I get it. That’s easy to write down, but how do we practically avoid grumbling against someone that we don’t like, even if we may have legitimate reasons? By shifting our focus.
“Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Colossians 3:22-24
Since we know from Romans 13:1 that God has put our authorities over us, and we know from Matthew 6 that God sees what is done in secret, we can be better armed to face the workday with the attitude described in Colossians 3:22-24. We may be obeying the instructions that our earthly bosses are giving us, but the work we are doing is really serving our God, Jesus Christ. This life is temporary anyway, and when it’s done, we get to spend eternity with Him! With that in mind, who cares if we have a cranky boss that likes to nitpick at the font we use or microwaves fish in the break room every day? The only review that really matters is God’s, the one where He judges how faithful we’ve been to His Son in this earthly life.
This post was really just me berating myself for falling into the trap of complaining about my job some days, but thanks for listening! I hope it spoke to you, as well.