Devotional & Reflection

Week 4, July 2002

Colossians 3:22 - Who is the Boss?
By S K Sio, Civil Servant & Servant of God

Colossians 3:22 "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord."

Some of us have good bosses - bosses who are able to motivate and nurture us to do our best, who have our welfare at heart, who treat us with due respect. Others have different bosses...... A friend, for example, told me his boss was a "joker" and he wasn't referring to his boss's sense of humour.

We have no problem with good bosses. We may even become good friends with good bosses. What happens when we have bosses who are difficult, unreasonable? Do we just grit out teeth and bear with the situation, or do we throw in the towel and look for more conducive (not necessarily greener) pastures?

I know that scripture tells us to submit to authority because God is the one who places the authority over us. The Apostle Peter went even further to command that slaves should submit to their masters, not only to those who were good and considerate but also those who were harsh. But I find the teaching difficult, when we have to turn the other cheek to an unreasonable master day after day.

It took me a while to resolve the predicament in my mind - why are we called to submit to authority even to those who are harsh?

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

Yes, because Christ set an example for us. He was tried by Pilate, flogged and mocked by Pilate's men. He suffered unjustly at the hands of Pilate, not because Pilate had anything against Him or His claims to be God's Son.

And so, we may suffer not because of persecution for our work in Christ or for our faith. We suffer in order that we may be pruned and moulded in the likeness of Christ. The more we fail to be moulded or resist being moulded in His likeness, the more the trials may come, that we may learn the lesson being taught to us, till we realize God is working in us and we submit to His discipline.

It is neither fight nor flight when we are faced with harsh or unreasonable bosses. We may pray for our bosses to change (or be changed), but can the leopard change his spots? If our bosses cannot change, then we have to change.

We need to change to see our bosses in a different perspective. We need to have our chins up, to look beyond our bosses and recognize that it is the Lord for whom we do everything. Scripture tells us to work with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. The work that we perceive as pain becomes pleasure when it is the Lord we serve. And we do the best we can, no matter what kind of earthly bosses we have.

1. In your work, do you have a good and considerate boss or a harsh one?
How does the boss that you have affect the work that you do?
2. Why do you think God command us to submit to our bosses even when they are unreasonable?
3. Do you accept the boss that you have as God's delegate and accord your boss the reverence as to the Lord?

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