How to get to be boss — Proverbs 12

Be faithful even when it’s tough

Proverb 12:9  “He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.”

This verse is better understood as “A poor person who provides for himself is better than someone who is proud and destitute.”

You’ve probably met, or seen the proud and destitute. They’re often holding up a sign that says “Will work for food,” but when you try to offer them work, they have excuses for why they can’t, and would prefer a generous donation instead.

And you may have met the poor, but self-providing individual. He may be between jobs or have hit upon hard times, but he’s faithfully seeking work where he can and doing what he must to provide for himself and his family. God says there’s more hope for someone like that than there is for the “proud and destitute.”

Appreciate your employees.

Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

Now I know this is talking about a work animal and I am not equating employees with work animals. What I am pointing out is the character of a good boss. “Righteous” in Scripture generally means “true to one’s obligations.” A wise boss understands that he or she has an obligation to his/her employees. Part of that obligation is to treat their workers fairly and respectfully. That’s the picture given here.

Be meek. Be humble.

Meekness does not mean weakness. It means strength that is under control. A boss carries a good amount of authority and we have all known bosses who use their authority to beat people over the head. But we have also known bosses who knew how to handle authority. They were often the ones who had to work much the same their employees do.

A good example of meekness in authority is Moses. He was trained in the finest schools Egypt had to offer. He was even in line to become king of Egypt (think CEO). Then he turned it down. A failed attempt at leading his people out on his own initiative led to the killing of an Egyptian and a life on the lam. At this point in his life Moses was not yet meek. He was trusting in his own cunning.

To get away from the authorities in Egypt he spent forty years in the desert. This was God’s design. Consider it his post graduate training. God used that time in the desert to humble Moses, to teach himn the ways of the desert culture and how to deal with its people, and, most importantly, how to depend on God – for everything. When it was all said and done, Moses came out of his post graduate work the meekest man on earth. (Numbers 12:3) It made him a great boss, even when he was dealing with unruly employees.

Be a good steward.

Proverbs 12:11  He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

Proverbs 12:14  A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.

Proverbs 12:24  The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Proverbs 12:27  The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

These verses aren’t particularly about bosses. They’re more specifically about good stewardship of talents and blessings, but they do fit our theme. Because a good boss is someone who has proven him or herself to be faithful in his/her responsibilities and wise regarding their resources.

A good example of this is Joseph. His big break came when his brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37). Joseph had lived a pretty privileged life up to this point as the favorite son of his father Jacob. Jacob often sent Joseph to check up on his older brothers most likely because they could not always be trusted out of sight, while Joseph could be. To get rid of their “problem,” his jealous brothers sold him as a slave to the Midianites.

While Joseph could have pined away and become bitter about his circumstances, he did something truly amazing instead. He served his masters. In fact, every time we see Joseph serving, he ends up in charge. Why? Because of God’s blessing on his life, but that blessing came as a result of his God-honoring character. Wherever he was Joseph did the best job he could. He did it so well and proved so reliable that his supervisors always gave him a supervisory role. He was also a good steward of resources. When Joseph was put in charge, he always took care of the things he was tasked to supervise. He was never embezzling or stealing company pens in other words. He had the character of a real leader.

Remember it’s not about the title it’s about the character.

Have leadership character and develop the talents to become the best at your job you can be. Joseph was always the “go to guy,” before he ever got the title. Joseph had spent an additional two years in prison before Pharaoh made him second-in-command after himself.

Moses was forty years in the desert before God decided he was ready to lead. But even if you never get the title of “boss,” you can still be one. If you’re focused on getting the title, you’ll always be frustrated.

The takeaway

You want to be a good boss? Be a good employee. You want to be a good employee? Be a good servant.

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