Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.
Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.
Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.
How Should Christians Work?
(4) As Christians, we must treat our employees as we would want to be treated
In the first part of verse 1 of chapter 4, Paul says this:
“Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly…” (Col 4:1a)
Part of treating others as we would want to be treated is for us to treat others fairly, giving them their due. Employers aren’t to rip their employees off. They work for an agreed upon wage and benefits, which should be given in a timely manner.
As well this means you should provide your employees with adequate working conditions. I recently read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It is about what was happening in the meatpacking industry at the turn of the 20th century. One of the major things Sinclair highlights in the book is the horrible working conditions. Many were required to work in extreme heat and cold without adequate ventilation, light, or drainage. All that was so their employer could make more profits.
While profits are important, they can’t be our only focus. We also have to focus on our employees. We have to give them what they need to do their job and provide for their families.
Treating others as we would want to be treated also means that we don’t motivate with guilt or coercion. We wouldn’t want anyone to do that to us, so we shouldn’t do it to others.
Really when we use guilt or coercion to motivate others, what we show them is that we don’t really care about them, we just care about what we can get out of them, which is no way to treat our employees.
Instead, We are to think of our employees as people, not just worker bees. The people who work for us are just that — people. They aren’t machines assigned to do a task. They are people whom we have hired to work alongside us. They have families, interests, ideas, and feelings. If we are going to be a good employer, we must recognize that and try to cultivate a relationship as time and money allows.
Question for Reflection
- Do you treat others as you would want to be treated?
Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?