“My dad is the boss of you.”
My son explains this to his big sister’s friends, as if it’s an essential fact of life that they need to know.
These older girls climb into our minivan and strike up a conversation with him.
He launches into his typical introduction: “I am Andrew Christopher King. And my dad is the boss of you.”
Just like that.
He’s become rather obsessed lately with this hierarchy of authority. It slips into his conversations and even into his prayers.
At night, we let the youngest child choose which family member gets to pray in what order during our nighttime prayers.
So, when he chooses, he just doesn’t say the name of the chosen sister.
No, he adds a little clarification:
“Catherine will pray next. Catherine is my friend and I am the boss of her.”
Or, maybe if this had been a source of contention during the day, he’ll say it like this:
“Catherine, my friend, and she is not the boss of me.”
This is probably all my fault as one of my great Mom fall-backs in the midst of a major preschooler meltdown is to announce, “You are not the boss. I am the boss. Mommy and Daddy are the boss.”
Sometimes, after all, three-year-old kids miss that truth on their own. They think their own whims and wishes and wills rule over all. Here they reign in all their tyrannical glory.
Until Mom upsets all that by staking a claim to the boss’s title.
I guess he’s trying desperately to find at least one person that he can boss around.
Truly, I understand his tiny attempts to assert control over a big wide world where he has so little say in what happens.
I sympathize with that feeling of helplessness….of things not going the way you want…people not doing what you want them to do….all kinds of life trampling over all kinds of plans.
Maybe our instinctive reaction to life out of control is to try to be in control.
We try to rescue and save and salvage. We try to put the pieces together and hold it all with Krazy Glue.
We try so hard to be the boss.
And the danger of that is, of course, we’re not. We’re not sufficient for that. We’re not capable of managing it all and doing it all and running it all.
I am not the boss.
And, instead of that realization being terrifying, it can be liberating.
After all, “My Dad is the boss” and He’s greater than the unexpected and the unknown. He’s greater than the dreaded date on the calendar and that one relationship that always seems to breakdown into disaster.
He’s greater than the overwhelming to-do list, the difficult decision, and the impossible circumstances.
That’s what we need to know really.
In John 4, we discover Jesus’ longest recorded conversation in the Gospels, not with a disciple or follower, not with a rabbi or pharisee, not with a man.
Instead, he talked with a Samaritan woman while sitting at a well in the heat of the day. And she tangled that conversation right up with worries about religious practices and traditions.
She didn’t understand when he talked about “Living Water” or the well or even why a Jewish man would talk to a Samaritan woman in the first place.
So, she asks this question:
12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” John 4:12 ESV
Are you greater THAN…
That’s what everything came down to for her and what it comes down to for us.
Is Jesus Greater than those we’ve turned to and trusted in?
Is He Greater than anything we face?
Is He Greater than our weakness?
Is He Greater than the mountain that looms and the valley that surrounds?
…we tend to get stuck: right at that point of believing someone or something—right in the dead center of our lives—is greater than Jesus. Or the reverse, that Jesus is not as great, loving, or powerful as whatever it is we’re hoping will quench our thirst or quell our fears or satisfy our longings.
Maybe this whole issue of who is the boss isn’t just a preschooler’s issue.
Maybe this is for us.
We love and worship and follow our God who is greater than this. All of this.
Nothing can overwhelm or overcome Him and nothing else could satisfy us or rescue us.
He is Greater.