February 07, 2016

Because of Sin, Work Is Unjust

James 5:1-6

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you.

—  James 5:4

James has a sobering message for people who hold positions of leadership in the workplace. On the surface, it might seem as if he is saying that financial success is wrong. But wealth is neither good nor evil; it’s how we gain and use our wealth that counts.

When sin tempts us to make the bottom line our top desire, work becomes only a means to padding our pocketbook. People become either objects for us to use, or obstacles in the way of growing our fortune. Perhaps we underpay our employees to keep more for ourselves. Maybe we deliver a sub-quality product or compromise safety standards to keep more money for ourselves. Some of us may know the inequality of working for a company in which low-level employees are downsized out of work while top-level executives leave the company with a golden parachute.

If you are in a position of leadership at work, know that God’s Word urges us to assess our priorities and structures in the workplace. Are we treating employees fairly? Do we treat those who work for us as people and not merely as cogs in a machine? If you experience injustice in the workplace, be assured that your cries reach the ears of God, and one day God will make things right.

Merciful God, we thank you for hearing the cries of all who are treated unfairly. Help us reflect your justice and mercy in the way we treat people who work for us, and help us endure unfair treatment till you make all things right. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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