The Christian Employer The Christian Employer

The Christian Employer The Christian Employer

The Christian Employerby Boaz BoonWhether employersor employees, allChristians have thesame Master, thatis, our Lord JesusChrist – “...for oneis your Master, evenChrist” (Matthew23:10b). Therefore,masters ought to treattheir servants wellbecause the Scripturessay, “Masters, giveunto your servantsthat which is just andequal; knowing that yealso have a Master inheaven” (Colossians 4:1). “And, ye masters,do the same things unto them, forbearingthreatening: knowing that your Masteralso is in heaven; neither is there respectof persons with him” (Ephesians 6:9).Christian employers need to set Christ-likeexamples to live out the Gospel in theirlives. The main purpose which Godallows a person to be in that position ofcommand is to reflect the beauty of theLord Jesus Christ and to make Him knownto people around him. Employers, in thiscontext, could be entrepreneurs whohave their own businesses, or managersand supervisors in a company (fromthe highest rank, e.g. Chief ExecutiveOfficer and downwards) and thosewho employ domestic helpers at home.However, there are indeed instanceswhen Christian employers have fallenshort of the biblical standards. Thosewho abuse their power and act astyrants will certainly bring shame to thename of Christ. This ought not to be!A Christian employer should upholdhonesty, integrity, industry and patiencetowards others. In other words, fairnessand truthfulness must characteriseall his dealings. There will be no placefor bribery and fraud in his business,and whatever profit gained is due tohis diligence. He should also treat hissubordinates with a kind and gentlespirit, manifesting a heart that is forgivingand willing to give a second chanceto those who may have failed or mayhave been remiss in their duties.The main difference between a Christianemployer and others is that the formerBible Witness 11

has Christian values as guiding principlesin everyday life. These values are to bebased on the Bible and guided by the loveof God. Hence, Christian employers needto emanate the love of Christ and shineforth His beauty not only at home butalso at the workplace. Pertinent lessonscan be drawn from Colossians 4:1 andEphesians 6:9 on how this can be done.Being just“Masters, give unto your servants thatwhich is just…” (Colossians 4:1a). Thisword ‘just’ has the meaning of what is‘rightful according to the law of God andthe law of the land’. The employmentcontractual agreement may be the bestplace to start in applying this principle.Christian employers should be reasonablewith the demands stipulated in theemployment contract. It goes withoutsaying that every detail therein shouldbe legal (like working hours, days of leaveand entitlement to medical benefits).Moreover, the spirit in which the contractis implemented is equally important.One can mull over an example from thegospel account of a certain centurionwho showed honest concern over thesickness of his servant. “And saying, Lord,my servant lieth at home sick of thepalsy, grievously tormented. And Jesussaith unto him, I will come and heal him”(Matthew 8:6-7). This centurion was a manof authority but he was concerned enoughfor his servant’s welfare that he humbledhimself to plead with the Lord Jesus forhis healing. The Lord was happy with thecenturion’s faith and humility that Hesaid to him, “Go thy way; and as thou hastbelieved, so be it done unto thee. And hisservant was healed in the selfsame hour”(Matthew 8:13). Thus, Christian employersshould do no less to care for theiremployees with all sincerity as exemplifiedby the centurion. The lines written onthe employment contract would be oflittle meaning if there is no sincerity onthe part of employers to fulfil them.There are other examples where Christianemployers can be just, such as in givingleave entitlement and benefits. Christianemployers can provide annual leaveaccording to prevalent market practice(i.e. the number of days of leave woulddepend on the rank and length ofemployment of the employee). In addition,they can provide family-event leave,child-care leave, social-volunteer leave(including missions work) and flexibleworking days. A happy and gratefulemployee will increase productivityat work! This is well researched andpublished in management journals,including the Harvard Business Review.Christian employers may also provideflexibility to work benefits which theemployee can convert into funds to payfor medical expenses for dependents,for holiday accommodation for thefamily, for insurance, etc. The flexibilityof such benefits can go a long way inmeeting other needs of the employees.Being equal“Masters, give unto your servants thatwhich is just and equal…” (Colossians4:1a). This word ‘equal’ has the meaning offairness and honesty. We should give creditwhere credit is due. Equality and fairnesscan be shown in the following aspects:In fair wages: Christian employers whohave been blessed with a good harvestshould fairly compensate the employees.12 Bible Witness

During performance appraisals, Christianemployers should be fair to recognisethe efforts and achievements of theirsubordinates. If they have done well anddeserve good grades, they should berewarded fairly. Good grades should befollowed with commensurate bonuses,salary increment and/or promotion.“For the scripture saith, Thou shaltnot muzzle the ox that treadeth outthe corn. And, The labourer is worthyof his reward” (1 Timothy 5:18).Furthermore, our God expects Christianemployers to be generous. “Thou shaltfurnish him liberally out of thy flock, andout of thy floor, and out of thy winepress:of that wherewith the LORD thy God hathblessed thee thou shalt give unto him”(Deuteronomy 15:14). For it is commandedof us to “withhold not good from themto whom it is due, when it is in the powerof thine hand to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).A warning is given from the Scriptures toemployers who are unjustly withholdingtheir employees’ due. “Behold, the hireof the labourers who have reaped downyour fields, which is of you kept backby fraud, crieth: and the cries of themwhich have reaped are entered into theears of the Lord of sabaoth” (James 5:4).We have a Master in heaven who showsno partiality as expressed in Ephesians6:9b, “neither is there respect of personswith him.” Thus, hiring and promotionshould be based on merit and not on anyother factors like race or kith and kin.Doing otherwise would find Christianemployers to be unfair or unequal.In food and nourishment: Howmany domestic helpers have beendenied sufficient food and even beatenor tortured when they eat food foundin the kitchen? Do take careful notethat it is the responsibility of masters inhouseholds to provide sufficient foodfor their helpers as these verses imply:“And thou shalt have goats' milkenough for thy food, for the food of thyhousehold, and for the maintenancefor thy maidens” (Proverbs 27:27).“She riseth also while it is yet night, andgiveth meat to her household, and aportion to her maidens” (Proverbs 31:15).In the story of the prodigal son, he recalledhow his father nourished his servantssufficiently. “And when he came to himself,he said, How many hired servants of myfather's have bread enough and to spare,and I perish with hunger!” (Luke 15:17).Forbearing threatening“And, ye masters, do the same thingsunto them, forbearing threatening”(Ephesians 6:9a). Forbearing threateninghas the meaning of giving up or avoidingissuing threats. It is a disposition togovern by love rather than terror.Christian employers should not betyrants to their subordinates. A surveyon the abuse of domestic helpersreveals these horrible findings:a) Being screamed and yelledat for the smallest thingb) Various physical abusesresulting in injuryc) Not given proper foodd) Not given enough reste) Not paid properly on timef) No freedom to do personal thingsg) Living in fear and indignityh) Tortured like slaves in some casesBible Witness 13

In Singapore, many such abusiveemployers were caught and jailed.Do not let that happen to you!ConclusionAs an employer, have you been oppressiveto those who are working for you? Haveour servants sinned and we have not?Have they fallen short of our expectationsand we have not fallen short of the Lord’sexpectations? Have they angered usand we have not angered the Lord? Arethey imperfect and we are so perfect?repent of such sins as being unjust,biased and threatening tyrants. Christianemployers, remember that there is agreater, evenperfect Master,the Lord JesusChrist. Maywe seek to bemore like Himas we ministeras earthlymasters to ouremployees.Let all Christian employers search theirhearts and ask the Lord for mercy andChristian Work Ethics(Continued from page 10)“And whatsoever ye doin word or deed, do allin the name of the LordJesus, giving thanks toGod and the Father byhim” (Colossians 3:17).ConclusionThese God-given workethics require us to becommitted workers, trustingin Christ and workingtowards excellence in theearthly tasks that our handsfind to do. Once our timeon earth is up, our earthlywork will cease and eternalrest will follow for theChristian. So, “whatsoeverthy hand findeth to do, doit with thy might; for thereis no work, nor device, norknowledge, nor wisdom,in the grave, whither thougoest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).Christian work ethicsfound in the Word of Godare given to us as divineprinciples to be faithfullyobeyed so that we may befound blameless as God’sstewards wherever the Lordhas ordained us to labourfor Him. May God help usto abide by these biblicalwork ethics by being agood workman approvedunto God that we maynot be put to shame.At the end of it all, we mustbe guided by the wordsof wisdom written in theScriptures, “Let us hear theconclusion of the wholematter: Fear God, and keephis commandments: for thisis the whole duty of man.For God shall bring everywork into judgment, withevery secret thing, whetherit be good, or whether it beevil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).14 Bible Witness

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