“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you have a Master in heaven” (Col 4:1). Our last post covered the responsibility of workers to do their work heartily. Today, we look at the flip side; the responsibility of employers to treat their employees with justice and fairness.
In our rush to join American-style capitalism with American-style Christianity, we are quick to defend a business’s right to maximize their profit. We are quick to point out the requirement that “he who doesn’t work, shouldn’t eat”, highlighting the need for a diligent workforce. But the responsibility to treat the workforce with justice and fairness may be one of the most overlooked teachings in the New Testament. There is a big picture aspect to this question that we will tackle later. But for now, let’s focus on the individual application.
We all are employers on some level. You may own a business with a large staff. You may be a homemaker who hires house-cleaning help or a lawn service. Or it may be as simple as paying someone to cut your hair or babysit your kids. The point is that we all have opportunity to treat those who serve us with justice and fairness.
Somewhere along that line, we have gotten the idea that the Christian goal is to pay as little as possible for these services. But does that really fit the justice and fairness admonition? I am not saying we should overpay for poor service or inferior products. But there is also no reason to think that we always have to “win” the bargaining game. It is somewhat of a zero-sum situation. If I always have to “win”, then someone else is most likely “losing”.
Businesses are not in business to give their stuff away below cost. Service providers are not in business to take home as little pay as possible. As believers, we have a responsibility to pay what is fair. Do you agree? Or do you think that there is no moral imperative to how much we pay for our services?
Now this is not about being wasteful with your cash. This is not an endorsement for spending above your income. Each of us has a personal financial limitation and as we view our supply as being God’s gift and choice, we also hold it as God’s tool to be used to honor Him.
Ask yourself if God’s Word is giving you something new to consider. Because in the area of paying those who serve us, there is a danger to let market forces – what is the absolute least I can pay in this market for this service – override our biblical responsibility to treat those who serve us with justice and fairness.