Finishing up this week of submission, I want to look at the mutual submission that God expects in our working relationships. I'm sure that at some point in their working career, every adult will have a difficult boss. The boss may be difficult because of personality differences, or the boss may be difficult because of the way they treat people. Either way, when you work for a difficult boss, they can make your life at work miserable. You may even notice that your attitude at work is deteriorating when working for someone difficult. On the flip side, a boss may have a difficult employee working for them, which can make the work environment unhealthy. Ephesians 6 has some things to tell both the employee and the boss; please read Ephesians 6:5-9.
When Paul is addressing the slaves, I also look at this section as addressing employees. Most people have a boss that oversees their work whether it is day to day or answering to a board at meetings. Even though we are not forced to work for our bosses (except that we need to provide for our family), I want to quickly look at the Greek word translated as slave. The word is doulos and can mean slave or servant, but it can also designate someone who willingly serves. Even though we have to work, we also willingly work. We are reminded in these verses that when we are working, we should work as though we are working for God. When our mindset is on pleasing God in our work, we will work differently. We will work hard even when no eyes are on us because we will not be seeking man's approval in our work; we will be seeking God's approval.
We are reminded again that God wants to see us do good things. Just as we are told earlier in Ephesians 2:10, God has planned for us long ago to do good things. We can see here that this isn't just ministry and outreach related, this is in our daily lives. The good things includes honoring God in the jobs we do at work. We are also told that we are to respect our "masters" or bosses. That is not always easy! What makes it even harder is that we are to show respect for them not only in our actions, but we are to respect them in our hearts. All week long, I have studied how submission is not just an outward appearance, it is an attitude of the heart. I believe that if we are struggling to respect a difficult boss, we should look heavenward and pray that God can give us a change of heart in the workplace. To have a good attitude toward the people we work with requires an intentional practice of thinking of the things of God.
Bosses are also to submit to their employees. The submission is one of respect toward their employee and to treat them with kindness. I also think that when a boss works along side an employee and carries the burden as well shows respect toward the people they are working with. If someone is struggling, instead of berating them the boss can see what they can do to help them learn their job better. Just as I have studied throughout the week, the boss will only hurt themselves if they hurt their employees. We are told in verse 9 that we all serve the same Lord and God does not play favorites. When the boss can remember that we are all equal in God's eyes, the boss will have more respect for their employees.
Bosses are you showing submission through respect for your employees? Employees do you work with enthusiasm as though working for God?
Linking up with Brag On God Friday.