Forklift Theology

Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.

Listen to the Boss.

I have talked about who is in charge before. This isn’t a new idea. The fact of the matter is, where ever you are, and whatever you are doing, there is somebody who is in charge. Where I work, the Terminal Manager is responsible for what happens in the warehouse. However, he also has a boss. He has to answer to the Chief Executive Officer, and the Chief Financial Officer. Those are his bosses.

At home, my wife and I share the responsibility of being in charge of the house. She takes care of the day to day issues of managing the house, while I work to pay the mortgage, utilities, and other expenses. However, then there is the issue of our son.

The Fourth Commandment.

Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother [that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth].

What does this mean?–Answer.

We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

God is the one who set the model for how the household should be structured. We see this plainly in Exodus 20:12, where it reads “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Yes, God immediately declared that the parents are in charge of the family. This was to set order within the family structure. The fact is, the parents were meant to train up the child, teaching them how to live within the community, and according to the Law of God.

However, just as there is, or least should be, order within the structure of a family, in like manner is there an order to how a business is structured. A new hire is not equal to the CEO or CFO. A person with five years of experience is not necessarily equal to somebody with fifteen or twenty years of experience. Simple truth, people are in the positions they are in for a reason. Usually it is because they have the necessary experience and training that a new hire generally lacks. Indeed, I have seen many new hires come in, making bold claims about their abilities, only to see them fall flat, even when those who have proper experience have tried to off them help. Most of them ended up being terminated.

In that same vein, there is also order within the church. The pastor is the head of the congregation. Yet, inversely, he has to answer both to the congregation, and to Christ Jesus, who is the head of the church. Scripture warns very plainly that those who teach bear the greater judgment (James 3:1), thus the pastor will be made to give an account of what he taught at the judgment.

So what then? What should we do?

What does the explanation of the fourth commandment, as written in the catechism say?

We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

What does that mean? To a great extent, it is self explanatory. Not only should we love our parent, not despising them, we should also love and respect God in his holy sovereignty. However, this can be taken a step further, without too much extending of context.

How?

Simple. Employers are in charge of a business, just as parents are in charge of a family, and just as Christ is head of the church. To that end, it is the responsibility of the employee to show respect to their employer. We may not agree with their choices, and we might even be right when we thing that there is some wrong headed thinking. However, rather than lashing out, we have a right (if not a responsibility) to ask questions, with a reasonable expectation of an answer. Yes, there may be some unscrupulous employers that will lie to their employees (my previous employer often made false promises, which is a form of lying), but those who do will stand to give an account of their words at the judgment.

However, being in charge doesn’t make you automatically right. Also, it puts you under a great load of responsibility. To that end, being a dictator, isn’t going to win friends. It will just influence people to hate the company, and want to leave. That is not good for a company, ever.

The fourth commandment is important in our daily lives. Regardless of who it may be, we really do need to listen to the boss. When it comes work, that is usually a supervisor. When it comes to our faith, it is God, who grants forgiveness of sin, and resurrection from the dead, through Christ Jesus. God is the boss of all things. Businesses will come and go. Nations will rise and fall. God will forever remain. When we honor him, we honor what he has said. That is the way is should be. Amen.

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