Have you ever been in a position of authority? Most of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in some type of leadership whether it is at work, at church, or in our community. Whether it is a paid position or volunteer, when we are in a position where we are overseeing the work of others, God has expectations for how we are to use our authority. Please read Colossians 4:1.
This verse is specifically speaking to masters over slaves, but just as I mentioned yesterday we can look at this verse in relation to the work world. When we are in a position of authority, it is important to remember that authority does not equal control. If we are in authority because we like control, then we are in authority for the wrong reason. Leading through control creates an unhappy work force. Instead, God tells us in this verse that we are to be just and fair to the people who are under us. Yesterday, I looked at the fact that God has no favorites, so we should have no favorites. The same is for those in positions of authority - we are not to be swayed about our personal feelings. We are to be treating each and every person as one who is loved by God just as much as He loves us. God wants us to be fair with everyone.
The word that is translated as just is the Greek word, dikaios. This word in a narrow sense can mean to render justice; however, in a broader sense it can mean righteous and observing God's law (see footnote 1). So, when we read this verse, we can look at this with the thought that we are to treat people under our authority according to God's law. Please see what Jesus said about God's Law in Matthew 22:38-40. God wants us to treat people and love them as we love ourselves. This is so important that Jesus tells us this command and the command to love God sums up the entire Law. So, when we find ourselves in a position of authority, we should be treating everyone the same way we want to be treated.
The word translated as fair is the Greek word, isotēs. This word means equity (see footnote 2). We are to treat people with equity. I want to even challenge us with the idea that also means that we are to treat people under our authority with the truth that they are equal to us. That is not always how we look at authority and leadership, is it? But remember, God has no favorites - that includes anyone in authority. Each and every person has an important part in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), and each and every person is important to God (even if they do not know Him yet). That is a thought that is culture changing. Imagine a work force where everyone is treated with equity and according to God's Law.
Do you lead with control or with equity according to God's Law?
This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday.
1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for dikaios (Strong's 1342)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 15 Mar 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?