I Want to Be Boss

  • Randy Karlberg

We all have fond examples of a child’s humorous response to a situation or relationship. One of my children when they were going through a battle of wills as a 3-year-old truthfully stated, “But I want to be the boss!” And while youngsters do possess leadership qualities, to be sure, as 3-year-olds, they are in no position to be calling all the shots.

As Superintendent of Grace Christian School, I have had some hilariously inquisitive questions as to my role on campus. A few weeks ago, a second-grade student pointed at me as we passed in the hallway and said, “I know you’re the boss of the Principal.” Snickering, I actually did not have a response at the ready. But I was reminded of a similar question posed by a third-grade boy a handful of years ago. As we passed by each other in the hallway he reached up, pointed his finger in my face and said, “Hey! What do you do here?” Actually, a pretty good question from a young student who never attended a school board meeting or a graduation. I stopped and responded, “Do you know our Principal?” “Yes” was his retort. I said, “Well I am kind of the Principal of the Principal.” The look of pure joy came over his face as he replied, “What!? You mean you are the Boss?!” To which I shrugged and said, “Yeah I guess I am.” He then started chuckling out loud saying, “Wow! You can do anything you want!!” I replied, “Yeah kind of.” I didn’t have the heart to depress him with the fact that there are many things people with responsibility must do as a part of the role they possess. Being “the boss” has a long list of responsibilities that come with the title. Freedom to do anything you want is not exactly all that high on the list.

One of my close friends said recently, “This person wants to be relevant without having any responsibility.” That is a very profound statement when you think about it. Many people would relish being the one in charge, as long as they don’t have to deal with the things that come with that responsibility. There are countless people in our world who want attention and fame but do not want the responsibility of being a role model. I really like Charles Barkley. He is famous for just speaking his mind without worrying who he will offend. He was an NBA All-star who famously made a commercial for Nike where he claimed, “I am not a role model. Just because I dunk a basketball, I should not raise your kids. Parents should raise their kids.” While I agree with him that parents need to be their child’s role model, I think he needs to accept the responsibility that comes with putting yourself in front of millions of people including children. If you want the platform, you need to accept the responsibility that accompanies whether you want it or not.

My thoughts on being the boss and being a role model are similar. I think James 3:1 speaks to what I am saying when it says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” If you are in a leadership role you should be held more responsible than others without that title. And Scripture is clear that those who are in leadership in the Church are held to a higher standard than others. The qualifications for Church leadership are very clear in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. So, what is my point, you ask? Why do I bring this up?

I am convinced that many times we have a similar relationship with God. True believers would never actually say that we are the boss of our lives. After all, we are followers of Jesus! But how many times are we the ones leading in our lives and not really concerned with where Jesus is leading? We ask God to guide us and bless our lives. But if we are honest, aren’t you really saying, “God, here are my plans for my life. Please bless them?” I know that I have the propensity of taking the leadership of my life back from God after I have surrendered it to Him. It is a daily struggle to surrender my life to the Lord’s plans and not let my own get in the way.

Now I am not saying that the things that we like to do are not God’s plans. He has given us skills and interests that he wants us to enjoy. But it is a constant challenge to surrender our life over to the will of our Master and Lord. I think David had some experience with this idea when he wrote Psalm 37:3-6:

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be known as a faithful man. I do not want to cause shame to the Lord. I know that my plans have the potential of causing harm to the name of Jesus. But if I can daily trust in the Lord, delighting myself in Him and not the plans that are on the top of my list, then He will give me the desires of my heart. He will mold my heart to be in line with His. And this is my true desire, as I want to have a more Godly, eternal focus. I want to have my life less about me and more about being used in whatever way the Lord wants for His purposes. I am convinced that this will bring lasting joy! I want to tell the next third grader, “No, I am not the boss. Jesus is the boss and I just get to serve Him in this role.” And when I say that I want it to be true from the depth of my heart.

So, who’s your boss?!

Randy Karlberg