The Bible speaks strongly about submission to authority, and a boss is a rightful authority. When we accept employment, we are agreeing to place ourselves under the authority of an employer to work at whatever task we’ve been assigned. Following a chain of command is God’s design for civilized society, which functions best when everyone understands God’s design and their role in it. Romans 13 commands believers to submit to governing authorities. Ephesians 5:22 commands wives to submit to their husbands’ authority. And the church is to submit to Christ’s authority in everything (Ephesians 5:24). So Christians should treat their bosses the same way Christ would treat those bosses.
Colossians 3:22–24 is addressing slaves, but the principles in that passage can be equally applied to employees at any rate of remuneration. Paul says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Christian employees should work for their bosses as if they are working for the Lord Himself.
When we keep in mind that everything we do can be an act of worship (1 Corinthians 10:31), we will relate to supervisors in the workplace in a way that represents Jesus well. We can show respect to our bosses, even if they are not respectable. We can give honor, even when our bosses are not honorable. We can obey commands, even when they seem unfair. Of course, we can also appeal decisions we believe are wrong, but we can do so while still conveying integrity and respect (1 Timothy 5:1). The only biblically supportable reason to defy a boss is if the boss demands we do something illegal or against God’s will (see Acts 5:29).
Christians should treat their bosses in such a way that would not prevent them from sharing Christ with their bosses, if the opportunity arises. When we do everything with an eternal purpose in mind, we have wisdom in sticky situations and never have to fear that we have brought reproach to the name of Christ.