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Honoring God at Work: How to Handle an Unreasonable Boss

A woman being overloaded by an unreasonable boss

Work is an integral part of God’s original plan for humanity. It serves multiple purposes, from providing for our families to blessing others. But as Christians, we are called to view our work through a different lens – one that recognizes it as a means to glorify the Lord and make our labor an act of worship. This is especially important if we are working for an unreasonable boss.

Obedience and Submission: Dealing with an Unreasonable Boss

In the workplace, we often encounter challenges, and one of the most common ones is dealing with an unreasonable boss. As Christian employees, whether your boss is understanding or demanding, we have compelling reasons to obey and submit to them. Peter’s words in 1 Peter 2:18 remind us to be respectful and obedient, regardless of our boss’s temperament or behavior.

However, it’s crucial to clarify that our obedience and submission have limits. We should not obey if our boss asks us to do something illegal or immoral. In such cases, we must seek help from God and consider finding a new job that aligns with our faith and principles.

If your boss is unreasonable, consider trying some of the following tactics.

  • Remain Calm and Composed: Avoid reacting emotionally or impulsively when faced with difficult situations or unreasonable demands. Take a moment to collect your thoughts before responding.
  • Seek Understanding: Try to understand the reasons behind your boss’s behavior. Is there something happening in their personal life that is affecting their actions at work? Attempt to empathize with their situation, even if their behavior is challenging.
  • Communicate Openly and Respectfully: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, schedule a private meeting with your boss to discuss your concerns. Choose your words carefully, focusing on specific examples that negatively affect your work. 
  • Establish clear boundaries with your boss: Politely explain your workload and prioritize tasks with them to ensure a more reasonable approach.

Serving Christ in the Workplace

One primary reason for being submissive to those in authority at our workplace is that we ultimately serve Christ. As Christians, our faith should permeate every aspect of our lives, including our work. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, urges us to be obedient with fear and trembling, as if we are serving Christ Himself (Ephesians 6:5-7). This means that our attitude toward our work should be one of reverence and devotion, recognizing that our labor is not just for earthly masters but for our heavenly Master.

When we approach our work with the mindset of serving Christ, it transforms our perspective. Suddenly, our daily tasks take on a new meaning and purpose. Whether peeling oranges, directing a symphony, or performing any other job, we can find significance in knowing that our work can be an act of worship. Our actions at work directly reflect the God we serve, and our conduct can be a powerful witness to our faith.

In the workplace, we become living testimonies of our beliefs. Our coworkers and superiors observe us every day. They see how we handle challenges, treat others, and respond to authority. Our work becomes our witness – our actions and attitudes speak volumes about the God we follow. If we exhibit carelessness, grumbling, or complaints throughout the day, our testimony as Christians loses its power.

As we navigate the challenges of an unreasonable boss, it becomes even more critical to maintain our commitment to honoring God in all we do. Dealing with a problematic supervisor can test our patience and resilience, but we must remember that our ultimate allegiance is to Christ. In challenging moments, we can pray to Him, seeking His strength and wisdom to handle the situation with grace and humility.

Christian Employers: Leading with Love and Fairness

As Christian employers, our decisions and actions should be guided by obeying and pleasing God. Our faith should not be relegated to Sunday worship alone; it should profoundly impact how we conduct ourselves in the workplace. The biblical example of Boaz from the book of Ruth serves as a model for us. Boaz greeted his workers with blessings and demonstrated mutual respect, creating a positive and uplifting atmosphere in his fields.

In our roles as leaders, we significantly influence the lives of those under our care. Our attitudes and behaviors can foster a thriving and harmonious workplace or create an environment rife with tension and discontent. Christian employers must cultivate an atmosphere where blessings flow and teamwork prevails.

One key aspect of godly leadership is avoiding threats or oppressive tactics with our employees. Instead, we should embody the principles of servant leadership, following the example set by Jesus Himself. Servant leadership seeks to prioritize the needs and well-being of others, showing humility, compassion, and a genuine desire to serve.

Treating each employee with love and care without showing favoritism is essential. God does not show partiality, and as His followers, we should strive to emulate His impartiality in our interactions with others. We create a workplace culture that fosters unity and mutual respect by valuing and respecting every individual under our authority.

Embracing Growth: Challenges in the Workplace

In our work lives, difficulties and challenges are bound to arise. We may encounter an unreasonable boss, uncooperative colleagues, or demanding clients. These hurdles can leave us discouraged and frustrated, especially when our prayers seem unanswered. However, it is during these moments that we can find inspiration in the life of the apostle Paul.

Despite being a prominent figure in the early Christian church, Paul faced numerous obstacles in his ministry. He experienced persecution, rejection, and even physical ailments. Yet, he remained steadfast in his faith and relied on God’s grace to sustain him. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This verse serves as a reminder that in our weakest moments, God’s grace is more than enough to carry us through.

Similarly, we can draw strength from Paul’s example and lean on God’s grace when we encounter difficulties in our workplace. These challenges can become valuable growth opportunities, shaping us into stronger and more resilient individuals. God refines our faith through adversity, and we learn to trust God even in the face of uncertainty.

Approaching Work as Worship: All Work is Sacred

As followers of Christ, we must break free from the misconception that only church-related activities hold sacred value while everything else in the marketplace is secular. This limiting belief diminishes the potential impact of our daily work. In reality, as Christians, we have the privilege of viewing any good work we do as a ministry to Christ and an opportunity to bring glory to God.

When we embrace this perspective, our work becomes more than just a means to earn a living; it becomes a meaningful and purposeful act of service and mission field for the Lord. 

Even in ordinary and seemingly mundane tasks, we can honor God by committing to excellence and giving our best. Our work becomes an act of worship when we dedicate it to the Lord, recognizing that He has placed us in our specific roles for a purpose. 

Our Attitude Toward an Unreasonable Boss: Trusting in God’s Plan

When faced with frustration and discontentment towards our boss or work situation, our automatic response may be to seek changes in others or our circumstances. However, as Christians, we are called to a different approach. Instead of fixating on changing those around us, let us turn to prayer and ask God to change our hearts and attitudes.

Prayer is a powerful tool for transformation, and when we earnestly seek God’s guidance, He can work in us, molding our hearts to be more aligned with His will. As we invite Him to shape our perspective, we may see our boss and work situation in a new light. God can soften our hearts and grant us a deeper understanding of the challenges others may face, leading us to respond with empathy and grace.

In times of discouragement, we can draw strength from biblical examples of perseverance and trust in God’s plan. Think of Joseph, who faced numerous trials, including being falsely accused and imprisoned, yet remained steadfast in his faith and commitment to God. In the end, God elevated Joseph to a position of great authority, using his journey to accomplish His divine purposes.

Conclusion: Faith in the Workplace

Dealing with an unreasonable boss can be challenging, but as Christians, God calls us to approach our work as an act of worship and service to Christ. Our actions and attitudes at work should reflect the God we serve, inspiring others and glorifying Him in everything we do.

As Christian employees, let us strive to be obedient, respectful, and diligent, trusting that God sees and rewards our faithfulness. For Christian employers, let your leadership be guided by love, fairness, and a desire to please God in all decisions.

Ultimately, the workplace can be a place of worship and a mission field where we bring glory to God through our actions, witness, and commitment to excellence. Let us embrace our work with enthusiasm, kindness, and a desire to honor God in all we do.

Would you like to hear more about how we should reflect Christ in the workplace? Click on the link to check out Pastor Campbell’s message “Adopting The Christian Work Ethic: Glorifying God In All Things.”

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