Before his coronation as king, David spent many years as either Saul’s court musician, as one of his military commanders, or as a hunted fugitive. Regardless of how Saul treated him, David still gave him his support and referred to Saul as “king,” “lord,” and “the Lord’s anointed.”
One time Saul hunted for David in the wilderness of Engedi with 3,000 men. David and his men were hiding in a cave when Saul himself entered to relieve himself. David’s men urged him to take his revenge. They told him that God gave him this opportunity to kill Saul. But David rebuked them and only cut off a corner of the king’s garment. When Saul left the cave, David showed himself—and the corner of Saul’s garment. David explained that his actions demonstrated that he supported the king, even though the king was against him (1 Samuel 24).
Even if you think your boss is out to get you, your relationship with your boss is not as bad as it was for David. But even though Saul wanted David dead, David still honored the king with his support—and you should honor your boss with your support.
In Scripture, John rebuked Diotrephes for his lack of support (3 John 9-10). Looking at what Diotrephes didn’t do to support John, here are three things you should do to support your boss.
Lately I have been reading, among other books, The Wright Brothers by David McCollough. He is my favorite writer, as I have read all four of his presidential biographies on John Adams, Harry Truman, Teddy Roosevelt, and George Washington. The painstaking detail that McCollough employs in fleshing out these historical figures is breathtaking. His book The Wright Brothers retells a story that I thought I knew, but after a few pages I quickly realized I didn’t. And the detail with which he describes the Wright brothers clearly shows that these brothers were not country bumpkins who happened to get lucky. He vividly portrays two young men who had an insatiable curiosity and an indomitable work ethic that helped them gain victory over the sky.
The process they used to get a flying machine off the ground, and then learn how to perfectly control the craft, belies their simple exterior. Almost all of the people who came into contact with the Wright brothers’ experiments misunderstood them and underestimated them. While looking on their exterior, people could not see the countless hours they had poured over books on flight and the countless hours they had invested in trying to understand how flight worked. All people could see is two young bicycle shop owners who dared to do the impossible.
Their story applies to you as well. People cannot see what is on the inside of you; they can only see what is inside themselves. All people can see is what is on the outside of you—and they project onto you what they believe about themselves. They assume what is on the inside of you conforms to the paradigms they believe about themselves. They don’t know who you can become, and they may try to limit you based on what they perceive about you. Just like the Wright brothers didn’t allow others to limit them—in fact, they seemed delightfully oblivious of what others thought of them—you should not allow others to tell you what you can do.
Based on Proverbs 21:31 (MSG), here are three things you can do—like the Wright brothers—to achieve victory over anything.
I’ve been asked many times throughout my career if I am a pastor. And since I am not ordained, I respond in the negative. But I am a minister. And for that matter, so are you. Because your business is God’s business.
What you do for a living matters to God. While God wants some of us to become pastors, He does not want all of His kids to become pastors. He wants some of us to be involved in the business world. By serving Him in business, we can be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to those we work with, those we work for, and those who work for us.
God wants you to do your work so that others see Him in your work. You do that best when you conduct yourself as a person of integrity. God wants you to do the right thing even if no one is there to check up on you. He wants you to use, what Proverbs 16:11 (NIV) calls, “honest scales.”
Based on Proverbs 16:11, here are three reasons why “honest scales” are important in God’s business.
The thoughts that fill your head will affect how you live your life. How you think will determine not only how you act, but also how you see the world. What you think will define your outlook and who you will be.
You may not even be aware of the thoughts that you meditate on. They may come into your head and you may not even realize what is in your mind. But what takes residence in your mind will affect who you are and what you do.
The Scripture says you should take every thought captive and compare it to what Scripture says (2 Corinthians 10:5). So it’s important that you think about what you think about.
Using Philippians 4:8 as a template, here is an eight-point checklist for considering what you consider.
In the movie The Matrix (1999), the character Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) shares insights with his protégé Neo (Keanu Reeves) about what it means to be free and what it means to be captive: “Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”
[Spoiler Warning: In this dystopian world, humans created artificial intelligence that took over the planet and subjugated humans as their source of energy to power the machines. Neo is one of these people who was oblivious about his captivity, but Morpheus offers him the opportunity to escape the captivity and understand what is truly real. Neo accepts the opportunity, and Morpheus proceeds to explain to him what “the matrix” is and what he can do to defeat it—as the fate of humanity depends on him.]
In The Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo:
The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. … It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Like The Matrix, we are all born into a world where our mind is imprisoned. Like Neo, we must learn what “the matrix” is and how we can defeat it in our own lives.
Here are three things you must do to get yourself free from “the matrix” you were born into.
When you think of the attributes of successful people, what do you think of? Do you think of someone who is a winner-take-all negotiator? Or someone who ruthlessly pursues what will enhance their life? Or someone who desires to win at all costs?
While those characteristics may be the world’s standards for success, God has a very different standard. God doesn’t value a kind of success where you are the only one to win. God values a kind of success where you help others win. Because when others win, you win as well.
Psalm 41:1 (ESV) says
Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him.
To be truly successful, here are three characteristics from Psalm 112:4 and Psalm 116:5 you need to develop in yourself.
When Noah started building the ark that God told him to build, it was a daunting task. Noah persevered with extraordinary dedication to accomplish a purpose that was beyond the scope of credibility.
During that time, Noah would have likely dealt with ridicule from his neighbors. People may have come from miles around to watch and laugh at the man building the big boat. Considering that it may not have rained up until this point (Genesis 2:5-6), the idea of that water covering the whole earth would seem rather absurd—especially with the caveat that Noah and his family would be the only ones saved from it.
In spite the doubts resulting from the ridicule of his neighbors, Noah built a boat that was approximately 450-500 feet long, 75-85 feet wide, and 45-50 feet tall, with only his three sons to help him (Genesis 6:10; 7:13). It is therefore not surprising that this feat could have taken him 120 years (Genesis 6:3). During that period of 120 years, that is a long time to be focused on doing the same thing.
Noah must have suffered greatly at the hands (and mouths) of the people around him. Despite the difficulties, he knew that this work was what God called him to do.
The Apostle Paul echoes this idea in his letter to the Romans. Here are five words from Paul’s letter to the Romans that will help you develop the dedication to do what God has called you to do.
It’s no fun to have to lead in turbulent times. But if you haven’t had to do it yet, most likely you will have to do it at some point in your life. It may happen to you in your workplace where you have to navigate disruption in your company from outside—or inside—forces. It may happen to you at home if you have to deal with family transition or disintegration. No matter where you encounter it, it will likely not be fun. But it will make you reach deep within to lean on leadership abilities that you didn’t know you had.
In 1 Samuel 30, David had to reach deep within to lead in turbulent times. David and his crew came back to his home base at Ziklag, only to find that the Amalekites burned the city with fire, stole their goods, and took all their families captive. David’s men were inconsolable, and David was greatly concerned when his men talked about stoning him (1 Samuel 30:1-6a).
While you may never have to face something as dire as David did, you will likely think that you are—at least at the time. As a result, it is worth your while to know how to lead yourself and others in turbulent times. Here are three keys to remember when you are going through trials of your leadership abilities.
God is not impressed by what you do for a living. And you should not be either. But what does matter to God is how you do what you do. God wants you to work from the heart.
Here’s what Colossians 3:22-25 (MSG) says:
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
God wants you to work hard at whatever you do. He wants you to do your best. And He wants you to work from the heart.
Here are three things you should keep in mind as you do your work.
The Scripture makes it clear that careless words can have a powerful effect on people. Do you say words that you would rather not have come out of our mouth? I know everybody puts their foot in their mouth every now and then. I’ve gotten rather accustomed to the taste of mine. But what about the words that you say regularly? Or perhaps you’re not aware of the impact your words have on others.
When I was a kid, I heard the school phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Sadly, that phrase is just not true.
I am convinced that words can do much damage—especially emotional and spiritual damage. Proverbs 18:14 says that your spirit will sustain your infirmity, but it’s not so easy to do that when you have a wounded spirit. A broken bone can heal, but many people never heal from the wounds made by words.
At the same time, words can build up and do great good. Proverbs 16:24 says that pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. You can impact people powerfully by the words you say. Think through the opportunity you have to exert your Self-Leadership in what you say.
To help you capitalize on that opportunity, here are three ways you can look at the words you say and how you can choose the words you say.