Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Treating Your Teacher Or Boss With Respect Is Important To Jesus

I am afraid that there are a lot of Christians who don't know Jesus and don't spend any time with him. You can see it in a lot of their attitudes and sometimes you can even hear it in their preaching. People spend more time in hearing about Jesus than they do in actually studying his life, his words, or even sitting in his presence. We worship a Jesus we only know by word of mouth, and that is a dangerous thing.

I can't see how Jesus would be pleased at all with what we have done with his Bride or how we live in this world. We haven't been saved to conform to our society but to stand firm in the new creation that we are in Jesus. If we actually study the life and words of Jesus we would soon discover that to live by Jesus' pattern is to live a life that is in direct contrast to our society. One of the things that disturbs me most is how Jesus lived as a servant to mankind but we, as his followers, live as if mankind should serve us. Jesus taught:

“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

This teaching concerning our attitude in living a life to God's glory is expanded in the epistles but I will use just one example:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

I have seen too much of life to say that most Christians understand and live in this attitude. It is a rare exception to find a follower of Jesus who understands this precious attitude. Most of us are very demanding of other people, sometimes reducing them to tears. I have seen it with my own eyes, one minute a person testifying about the goodness of God and the next walking away in triumph after reducing a store clerk to tears over some small mistake. Those of you who drive, what is your attitude on the road? What about with the service person on the phone? What about with your teacher or your boss?

That's an interesting question for those who go to school and for those who have bosses: Would your teacher or boss know that you love Jesus by your attitude of respect and service to them? Do you go to school or to work with the attitude that they owe you, or do you go with humility and respect, with a desire to bless them? This is what Paul told Timothy to teach those who were in the bondage of slavery:

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

Yes, that is what they told those who were treated like objects to be bought and sold. Obviously Paul understood the value to God of a person in slavery because he desired to teach them how to serve Jesus even in that horrible condition. Do you consider your boss or your teacher, even your parents worthy of respect simply because they are the authority over you? Maybe they are terrible, not earning any respect but the respect we show has nothing to do with what they earn and everything to do with God's love. This is what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

We don't keep track of their offenses against us. We don't push for our rights. We aren't even concerned for ourselves. We only want to honour Jesus so that his name and the teaching of the gospel is not slandered. It may mean suffering for the name of Jesus but it is our calling to do that if it brings glory to God. In our society today it's all about our rights. When a store clerk makes a mistake we have the right to demand compensation. When a teacher is in a cranky mood we have the right to complain. When our boss asks us to do something beyond our job description we have the right to refuse. There are all kinds of rights in our society but, after being possessed by Jesus, we no longer fall under the system of this world. Our rights in the Kingdom of God is the privilege to love and obey Jesus Christ.

If this is our right then I strongly suggest that we spend the time to get to know him better, to study his example, to know his words and submit to his Spirit. In this way we will learn the importance of putting others ahead of our own needs. In this way, by our love, they will know that we truly do belong to Jesus Christ.

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