We're introducing a new blog feature called Meditations, where one of the teachers who volunteers at Beacon shares a perspective from their spiritual walk to encourage you as you follow Christ. This month, Matthew Dent shares some thoughts about order in our lives.
Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 2:13-19
I would suggest that everything in our lives requires a level of order. I can’t imagine living in a society without order. Without rules and regulations there would be complete chaos.
The Bible has much to say about order because our God is a God of order. The Word of God addresses the subject of order within the workplace in Peter’s first epistle:
“Servants, be subject to your master with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” (1 Peter 2:18)
Contextually, this verse finds itself between two book ends. In verses 13 through 17, Peter has written concerning the believers' relationship to government and the order God has designed. He opens with the command to “submit for the Lord’s sake to every human institution”. Believers are instructed to yield, obey and place ourselves under the authority of civil government. Then in 1 Peter 3:1 we read, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands” The clear teaching is that a Christian wife is to submit to the authority of her husband. Elsewhere, in Scripture we read that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. Clearly God has established roles within the Christian home. The result is order and peace.
Going back to verse 18, the word “servants” is a reference to household servants. They were essentially modern day employees. A wealthy household would have various servants ranging from cooks, managers, farmers, doctors, teachers, musicians, actors, and others. The instruction given to these employees is to submit – to yield and place themselves under the authority of their master/employer. Furthermore, we notice their responsibility to submit to their masters is to be done with all respect. That means they are to hold their master in high esteem, not to see him/her as a slave driver and follow orders under protest.
The worldview concerning respect is that respect is earned. You often will hear people say about their boss, “I respect his position but I do not respect him as a person!” That is not a Biblical perspective. We do not respect others based on their performance or how they treat us; rather we respect others because they were created in the image of God.
It is easy to work for a boss that treats us well and pays us fairly. The interesting thing about this verse is that it acknowledges the reality that some employers will not treat us well or fairly. We are told to submit not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust. The unjust master is one who is unreasonable. The word literally means “one who is bent and warped from dryness”.
To submit and show respect to a boss who treats us poorly seems somewhat irrational. Logic would dictate that this will just create a tense and difficult work environment. God’s Word agrees! Verse 19 continues by saying, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.”
Submitting to the authority of your boss and receiving unfair treatment will result in unjust suffering. While this may not be an enjoyable experience to endure, it gives you an opportunity to share in a small way the unjust suffering of Christ. It puts you into a circumstance where you are able to follow in His steps and live out his example. What a testimony that will be to your fellow employees and even your employer.
From the Word to your life:
Do you feel like you live or work in an environment of order or chaos? How might the practical reminders from 1 Peter encourage you to bring God's kind of order into these places with you?
- How often do you pray for the person or people whose authority you must submit to?