The Gospel at Work
Text: 1 Peter 2:18-25 | Listen to Message
Most of you will spend more hours at work over the course of your life than you will spend doing anything else, including sleeping. Work is the source of some of our greatest joys as well as some of our greatest frustrations and sorrows. We often give too much of ourselves to it – and expect too much from it in return.
Work is especially challenging for those of you who have an unreasonable boss or a toxic work culture. The nepotism, dishonesty, and corruption wear on you. You’re passed over for opportunities and promotions, while others take credit for your hard work. Gossip, office politics, complaining, and blame shifting are the norm. Maybe the whole culture of your company is riddled with greed, competition, and shameless self-promotion.
Though many things have changed since Peter wrote his letters, I think he would understand the discouraging challenges you face at work. And yet his core principle remains this: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.”
Our tendency is to respect and obey only those we deem worthy; but the Bible commands us to respect and obey everyone God’s put in authority over us – including a lousy boss. This is our default stance as Christian employees: to take a humble, respectful posture while we do good work.
How can we do that? Peter says we must be “mindful of God.” In other words, we have to bear in mind that we ultimately work for a good and gracious God, not just an inconsiderate jerk of a boss. We must take this perspective to work each day: My actions and reactions are not determined by what broken people say and do; my actions and reactions are aimed at pleasing and glorifying Christ.”
Our response to an unjust boss or an unfair situation must be patterned after Christ, who also was the victim of injustice. We are to trace our lives over his, choosing humility and integrity over deception, insults, and manipulation. We don’t fight fire with fire, we fight it with grace.
This is all fine and good, but an example alone just crushes us. We’re supposed to live like Jesus, but we don’t. We need something more: we need power that changes us from the inside out. We need what Peter says we have in Christ: a God who bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; a God who walks with us into work so that he might actively guide and guard and nourish our souls.