The Power of Faithfulness and Honor
by Ruth Garrett
“Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and always responsible.” Daniel 6:4 (NLT)
Several years ago, I was tested on my job to see if I would remain faithful. I was working under a boss who used emotions, privileges and deception to try to control me. During this time, I was in a sales position that required monthly and quarterly goals to be met in order to achieve additional incentives.
After about six months into my job, my supervisor changed the rules of the game and continued to do so on a regular basis. The problem was that her constant rotation of rules were not communicated to me or any other employee until after each quarter had closed out. As a result, this made my job very difficult to the point that I found it “impossible” to remain in my position.
Yet, ultimately, I worked in this position for a year-and-a-half. During this trial by fire, God taught me the principle of honoring those in authority.
According to dictionary.com the meaning of honor is honesty, fairness or integrity in one's beliefs and actions. To that end, I believe my responsibility was to practice honor with my lips and my actions (Proverbs 3:3).
There were times when I found this process strenuous, especially when I saw my boss regularly practice deception. In the beginning, she was so crafty that I found it difficult to discern what was happening. But as I turned to the Lord, He began to identify to me when she was not being truthful.
Initially, this truth shocked me. Many times, I saw my boss twist facts and fudge statistical data surrounding sales accomplishments. Other times, I witnessed her saying one thing and then later changing her story completely. It was as if she deliberately tried to keep my colleagues and I constantly off guard.
God showed me that my best weapon was prayer and forgiveness. He also showed me opportunities to demonstrate kindness to my boss.
In spite of my efforts to do so, the escalation continued. For example, my boss began conducting employee meetings while in tears in an effort to manipulate us into performing higher. These instances usually were accompanied with announcements that our commission payment was being delayed and/or the requirements were changed.
In the beginning, her tears and pleas seemed genuine. But the Holy Spirit identified that her behavior was not real and that this was how she had learned to operate.
In additional to all these manipulations, my boss also used privileges, which she extended to us, to yank us around and put us into fear. One example was when she would let us leave early on certain days for the purposes of voting or inclement weather. She would typically bring up the issue later in front of other employees and reprimand us using shame and disapproval. Afterwards, she would then cite how she had been generous to us by allowing the early dismissal. In this way, she tried to manipulate employees who went around her to other departments for information because she wanted to control all information coming in and out of these departments.
During this time, it was a struggle not to say what I thought about my boss and participate in gossip. I saw the overall employee turnover also increase due to her behavior. In the midst of this mess, I focused on faithfully completing the job at hand and would have to ask God to forgive me when I slipped up and talked about her. Many times, it was difficult to stay motivated and not tell the new employees what my boss was actually like.
However, I believe the principle of honor is a lost art in our society and can actually block the blessing of God in our lives if not followed. I also understand that this principle of honor is not based on the actions of others but is something that is my responsibility to put into practice. I believe that honor put into in action includes both thoughts and demonstration.
I continually sought God during this season because there were so many times I just wanted to quit and no longer work for this person.
Because I chose to focus on God, I was able to excel at my work. And each time I excelled, I saw my boss raise the bar by manipulating sales quotas, lowering the commission structure and increasing the requirements for each sales call. Amazingly, amid this increased intensity, however, God led me to a place where I was able to pray for my boss. And in the end, I felt great compassion for her because I could see the bondage in her life.
Throughout this job assignment, my boss could find no fault in my work, as was the case with Daniel. Many times, I saw God’s hand of protection and covering over me and my work (Psalm 57:3). The circumstances in this journey allowed me to see God’s faithfulness firsthand. Since I chose not to quit, but finish the race, God saw me through each step of the way to the end. And because of my obedience to Him in honoring my boss and the excellence and faithfulness of my work, God promoted me to a new position within the same company (I Chron. 29:12). He refined me through this situation He allowed in my life. And I know that what He has done for me, He will do for others.
Ruth Garrett is a marketing professional in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to this, she spent five years in sales and relationship building in the pharmaceutical, medical device and travel industries. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and her MBA from Oglethorpe University. In her free time, Ruth enjoys traveling and gardening. She lives in Georgia with her dog, Gabriel.
Editor's Note: To learn more about dealing with difficult bosses, click here to listen to a teleseminar on this topic.