Working for a Difficult Boss | 1 Peter 2:18-20

Working for a difficult Boss! by Rev. Shine P. Thomas

Human authorities can be difficult at times, how do we overcome this challenge?

Have you ever worked under a difficult boss? How to work under stress? How can I balance my work when more than what I can deliver is required of me? Well, I want to answer all this in today’s devotion entitled: Working for a difficult Boss

Working for a difficult boss

Invariably at one time or the other, we will have to work under human authorities who are tough. The mistreatment can be physical mistreatment, underpayment, bad working conditions, unrealistic job expectations etc. We can face a lot of difficulties at work place. So, the question is: how to work for a difficult boss? How to work under undue stress?

I want to give you a biblical perspective of working for a difficult boss.

1 Peter 2:18-20

18Slaves, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

Slavery was a social evil which was the common practice in the Roman Empire. Slave and master was the most common form of employee-employer relationship in the ancient world. Slavery was very prevalent in the 1st century. The first century slaves were generally well treated except for a few tough and hard masters. Slaves had not right by their own. They were owned by their master.

The slaves were not just unskilled laborers, but often managers, overseers. They were trained members of various professions like doctors, nurses, teachers, musicians. They were paid their salaries and the slaves could eventually earn and buy their freedom.

The principles that Peter says to these 1st-century believers can directly be applied to our situation as to how we work under tough working situations and a tough boss.

What kind of workplace injustice is the Bible talking about?

I have seen a lot of people face criticism at workplace because of their own mistakes. Either they underperform or they do some kind of mistakes or fraud that even a nonbeliever would not commit. Friends, we are not to be such people. We are called to be exemplary at our workplace. I would say we have to give in return more than you receive. That is the attitude of a child of God at work. If you receive a punishment for your mistake, it is not honorable before God. But if you give your best at you work, you do good as a child of God and you suffer in spite of it, it is commendable before God.

In I Peter 2:18-20, Peter is address employees who are suffering in spite of doing good.

How to work for a difficult boss?

1. Do your work as unto the Lord

1 Peter 2:18

Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters,

Now slaves are asked to submit to their masters. Earlier Peter had said that believers are to submit to every human authority. Therefore we can say, slaves submit to your masters for the Lord’s sake. That means the Lord is your ultimate master, not your earthly master. It is for God’s sake that we are being subject to the earthly master.

1 Peter 2:16

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.

Paul also says the same:

1 Corinthians 7:21-24

21Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

You have been bought free by Christ and both slave and non-slave become the slaves of God. So Christ is your ultimate master and you are a free man. The reason you are submitting to this master is because you are submitting to Christ’s authority and power. This is a Christian kind of subjection.

Therefore, do your work as unto the Lord. This will change your perspective towards your work.

2. Do good at your workplace

1 Peter 4:19

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Just like the slaves were told to do good, we are all told to do good even to a tough boss. Doing good is the deeds of goodness of the word of God because no master will punish the slave for doing good to him. So we are to do good even if we suffer. We are going to go on doing good, even if the others deem insubordinate and we are punished for it.

3. Obey your earthly boss out of fear of the Lord

1 Peter 2:18

Slaves, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate but also to those who are harsh.

Our subjection to our human master is not out of fear for the master but out of fear of God. Our fear of God will result in obedience to our earthly masters. So one must submit to human authority or a human boss out of one’s fear to God.

A Word Of Caution: We only obey our earthly boss in the Lord. We do not obey if he asks us to commit a sin.

3. God rewards every good work

Remember, God is your rewarder. You will be rewarded by God for all your hard work and good work in the Lord. Suffering for evil is a commendable thing and God will reward you.

See what Jesus said in

Luke 6:32-36

32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Highest because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

1 Peter 3:9

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Ephesians 6:7-8

7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

You are going to get a reward for doing good and suffering unjustly.

When you suffer we should keep God’s favor in mind. God regards this as a beautiful, commendable thing. When you suffer for doing good, God will reward us here and in eternity.

Jacob is a good example for all of us. He was working for his father-in-law Laban for 20 years and had a desire for Laban’s daughter and Laban takes advantage of Jacob. He makes Jacob work hard for his daughters. At the end Laban cheats Jacob.

See what Jacob says regarding this to his wife:

Genesis 31:6-9

6You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, 7yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.

Proverbs 28:20

A faithful person will be richly blessed.

God is your rewarder. God will reward for you for all loss, all injustice that has come your way

5. Speak the truth in love

During our work life there will invariably come situations where we might want to talk back to our human authorities. The Bible does not want us to keep working without any employee rights. If one feels that there is injustice happening, we are called to speak it out but our attitude should be that of love.

Ephesians 4:15

..speak the truth in love.

Why and how should we persevere through this challenge?

So how to work for a difficult boss? How to work if you are underpaid? Believers are to work hard at your workplace because:

1. You are working for the Lord | The Lord is your master.

2. We are to obey you earthly boss out of fear of the Lord.

3. We are to continue to do good in spite of the injustice we are facing.

4. God is our rewarder | God rewards every good work.

5. Speak the truth in love.

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