Imagine yourself in a position of leadership in your company. You have grand visions of leading your people into health and wholeness. You believe the impact they could have on the world is profound when they implement the values of your company in their life – both at work and at home.
How would you feel when your employees are ignoring your values out of apathy? How would you feel when your employees are abusing your values by taking them to the extreme and using them to control others in the company? If you knew there were people in both camps within your company, what would want to say to them?
Now, read the letter to Thyatira, imagining it coming from an employer whose heart is for the health and wholeness of his/her people and his/her mission.
The letter begins by saying, “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.” Perhaps you would come out of the gate with a commendation to ease your employees to the harsh truth you’re about to bring up. But then, you’re the boss. So you would likely call out the issue at hand and the symptoms specific to the situation. “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.”
Now, you may get a little passionate here because you believe that your values are so vital to the health and wholeness of your employees that you may use some exaggerated language and imagery to get your point across. Remember, you believe that because this behavior is so directly opposed to your company’s values that continuing to live this way whether your employees are punished or not will ultimately not go well for the people involved or the future of your company. So, intervening, even if it is drastic, may be perhaps better for the longterm goals of your vision.
Still, before you get all passionate, you might want to mention the action you’ve already taken as the boss to give an alternative before you come out and give a clear picture of what will happen as a result of this continued behavior. “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead.” And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Then you may want to think about those who were not involved, because they may be freaking out right now and remind them of the vision you have for them. “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star.”
As you reflect on this letter from this perspective, examine how you feel after reading this passage in this way. If God is so for your health and wholeness, like he was for the church in Thyatira, spend a few minutes examine these areas of your life. Reflect on your week with a posture of humility and gratitude. Note what surfaces as a way of reflection. Then note how this week you might reset on God’s Kingdom values.
By Yvonne Biel