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How To Handle A Difficult Boss

Make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.
–Nehemiah 1:11

In his bestselling book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Mitch Albom recalls some life lessons he learned from his visits with his dying former college professor, Morrie Schwartz. During one of those visits, Professor Schwartz said, “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” Do you have a purpose in life that is bigger than yourself? You will never find meaning in your life until you have that grand purpose for living. In the book of Nehemiah, the author told what his own extraordinary purpose was and how God helped him to achieve it.

As we saw last week, anybody who is going to accomplish something great for God has to have three characteristics. First of all, there must be a sense of distress. We must be able to see some need in this world that we feel passionate about. For Nehemiah, it caused him distress to see the wall of Jerusalem still in rubble after more than a hundred years. Nehemiah knew that unbelievers were saying, “If God cannot take care of His own city, why should we trust in Him?” When Nehemiah saw that the name of God was being blasphemed, it stirred him up. It is the same way with you and with me. If we do not have a heart that is burdened with an overwhelming sense of conviction, we will never be fruitful in the service of God.

Second, there has to be determination. Nehemiah not only saw a need; he said, “I am going to do something about this situation.” Remember, never once did Nehemiah pray, “God, if you want me to rebuild this wall, give me a sign.” So many Christians today waste time praying about things they never need to pray about. We do not need to pray, “Oh God, if you want me to witness to this person, just give me a sign.” God has already given us the command to go into all the world and share the gospel. Just do it. Nehemiah determined he was going to do something.

Third, there must be a dependence. When we see a need, when we feel stirred up to do something about that need, we must depend upon the power of God. Nehemiah looked at this humongous project and he prayed, “God, You are the one who has to do this.” He needed God’s help to overcome an obstacle between him and his dream: a difficult boss named Artaxerxes. Maybe you have a difficult person standing between you and your dream. It may be a boss. It may be a non-Christian mate. It might be a lending officer. It may be a government official. How do you handle the difficult people in your life? Nehemiah demonstrated six principles for handling difficult people. As we study these principles this week, we will see that difficult people can only be changed through God’s supernatural power coupled with our wise responses.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How To Handle A Difficult Boss” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Mitch Albom, “Tuesdays With Morrie,” 20th anniv. ed. (New York: Broadway Books, 2017), 43.

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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