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David Otten: Responsibility, the workplace and the employee

By David Otten
Contributing writer
updated: 3/2/2019 1:50 PM

Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.

Last week I touched on the responsibility of management, on what God expects of them. This week I want to look at the employee.

First, the responsibility of an employee is honoring their employer. Honoring is a combination of love and respect. All authorities, including employees, are included in the command, "Honor your Father and Mother."

Perhaps we think "respect" is correct, but love is too far out there. Yet God said we are to love one another -- even your boss and fellow workers.

Too often management is understood as the enemy. Consider the movie "9 to 5" Johnny Cash's song "Oney", or Johnny Paycheck's "Take This Job and Shove it."

True, we don't enter into unduly familiar relationships with our superiors, but we still are to honor them. In my military career I genuinely found it an honor to work for my commanding officers. I would follow any one of them into battle anytime, anyplace. I realize not everyone has that type of relationship with those who supervise them, but love for our boss is still commanded.

Second, this translates into giving 100 percent at work, by showing up on time, not slacking off, doing top quality work and being a true asset to the workplace. Employees are to work with employers and fellow employees to make the workplace safe, enjoyable and productive. Prayer for all those in the workplace should be daily. The workplace should not be a place we dread but find fulfillment.

When Adam and Eve lived in the garden, work was a joy. They were given the freedom to work with God to enhance the creation to God's glory and as a blessing to creation. Sin, however, entered the world and work became more of a struggle. Thorns and thistles grew up and man had to work in heat, cold and by the sweat of his brow he ate his daily bread.

Sin had entered the workplace and too many times we see the evils that slither in with it: lies, sloth, arrogance, blame, discord, gossip, theft and even death. Yet Christ entered this world. He worked as a son of a carpenter. I assume he and Joseph dealt with customers who were both pleasant and a pain. They had suppliers they needed to work with, weather that created challenges, and eventually death took Joseph.

Christ understood the workplace and workers. We know He chose his disciples from those in the workplace. He preached of the kingdom of God, healed and forgave those from the workplace.

As Christ is here for us, forgiving our sins, giving us new life, renewing and changing who we are, we can bring that same spirit into the workplace. We can take up our responsibilities gladly, being a force of change for blessings -- blessings in the workplace.

• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.