Carey Madding

Today's Scripture: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, ESV

Theme: Honoring authority isn’t based on merit but on obedience to God.


Have you ever had a bad boss? Maybe he doesn’t communicate clearly, and you are always doing more or less than he “requested” in his mind. Maybe her insecurities turn your every success into a power struggle instead of just an accomplishment of routine work. I’ve had my work viewed as trying to “show up” my bosses instead of the intended support. I have had employers with emotional issues, and lazy bosses who did nothing but who took credit for every good thing that their staff accomplished. I have had executives who used their hormones as an excuse to berate their staff without reason.


Yet if I am where I am supposed to be (meaning, if God led me to that job and has not yet given me permission to leave it), I have a strategy from the Bible. First, I stay put. I keep in mind the last clear direction I heard from God. I don’t look for a new job or a way out. I sit and see what He has for me to learn in this place, in this situation, or how I am to serve in these people’s lives.

Second, I serve God, not my moody boss. I take our verse of the day seriously: “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” We all want to find favor with our bosses, but sometimes that is not possible. The greater goal (and the greater reward) is to find favor with the Lord. Is He pleased not only with my work, but my attitudes? Do I work without complaining and gossiping? Or do I need to make some corrections?


When I serve the human authority figure in front of me, I am honoring the heavenly King by honoring the earthly king/governor/police officer/boss. The Bible is clear that God has put authorities in place: at the very least, He has permitted their rise to power. When I read of the horrible kings in the history of the Jews, it is obvious that God allowed them, even though they worshipped idols and in turn led the people in despicable practices.

Yet the Bible still says, “honor the emperor.” I have never been physically persecuted or attacked at work. I have not been asked to do immoral things for my boss. There are situations where people are harassed and abused, and that is a different situation. As a regular practice, we have not had it that hard. Hebrews says: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4, ESV). I certainly have not been at that point. I can wait and honor the king, for Christ’s sake.

Make It Personal: In your life today, who does not deserve your respect and honor? Are they in authority over you? A parent, a boss, a county official—any of these people can have ungodly principles and selfish interests. These are the people whom God tells us to respect and honor, for whom we should work “as unto the Lord.” May you feel the rich blessings of His favor when you lower your resistance and humble yourself to serve or honor and obey the unworthy one.

Pray: Lord, You know my pride. You know my sense of fairness and justice is easily offended. Please give me a heart like Jesus, who took insults and beatings without a retort. Help me in my small way to honor others, to resist reply with the sass and backtalk I feel they deserve. Help me not to go to battle with officials, salespeople, waiters, or co-workers, but live a life that honors You. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17; Hebrews 12: 3-9

Weekly Memory Verse: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’” Ephesians 6:1-3, ESV