Working for the Master

The story is shared about Theodore Roosevelt’s days as a rancher. Roosevelt spent time briefly as a rancher in the Badlands after serving as the youngest legislator in the New York State Assembly. He later returned to New York and continued his political career and eventually became the 26thPresident of the United States. 

During his time as a rancher, Roosevelt and one of his workers lassoed a maverick steer. They prepared to brand it when Roosevelt realized it was on the land of his neighbor, Gregor Lang. According to the rules of cattlemen, the steer belonged to Lang. As the cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said, “Wait, it should be Lang’s brand.” The cowboy replied, “That’s all right boss.” Roosevelt replied, “But you’re putting on my brand.” “That’s right,” said the cowhand. Roosevelt said, “Drop that iron and get back to the ranch and get out. I don’t need you. A man who will steal for me will steal from me."  

A man of integrity refuses to steal. A man of integrity refuses to cheat to get ahead in life. A man of integrity refuses to deceive and be dishonest. Roosevelt knew better than to trust a worker lacking integrity. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines integrity as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” Could you have worked for Theodore Roosevelt? 

It’s tempting to do whatever it takes to get ahead in life. Many think it’s acceptable to “beg, borrow, and steal” to be successful in business. Paul said, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free” (Eph. 6:5–8). 

Paul’s commands to the Christian employee go further than whether you could work for Theodore Roosevelt. Paul asks, “Is work acceptable for the Savior?” Or, “Could you work for Jesus Christ?” Of particular interest is the phrase, “not by the way of eye-service, as people pleasers.” When you work are you doing just enough to get by? It is quite common to work when the boss is around and slack off when he isn’t. The next phrase should be the integrity clause in our work contract as Christians: “as servants of Christ.” Our true boss, Jesus, is always around. He sees us. He knows what kind of a worker and person we are. He knows whether or not we have integrity as an employee. We work as servants of Christ. 

As a Christian, your integrity in the work place is a reflection of your relationship with the Lord. What does your work ethic and integrity say about your relationship with God? Do your co-workers know you are working for the Master?