God In Your Work

Posted on March 1, 2015

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Here in America most Christians separate their job or business from their Christian life. Many are often very dedicated believers in their weekly devotions and church attendance but are looking to man for the answers in the work place, even going so far as to ask God to help man instead of looking directly to the Lord.  Often the last thought is to think about weaving a life in Christ completely through our work place for biblical practices and godly treatment of each other. Zealous new converts often have to be reeled in to realize that their employer has hired them to do a job not witness to everyone being another extreme in the work place. Saying all that I am about to UPSET MANY TODAY.

The Hourly Job

Many see today that too many Americans interpret their Bible through the eyes of Christian America History and typical western thinking and often miss the message of God that was written in a Middle-Eastern environment, language, and culture. So when we think about our work and position in society we have trouble translating the Middle-Eastern agrarian culture to our Western thinking hourly wage life. Most people in American and many parts of the world work for an hourly wage and some benefits and sadly the hourly wage life most closely matches a life of slavery as presented in the Bible and as an example in history. Slavery has been a part human culture since the beginning and God addresses slavery in both the Old Testament and the New. About now I may be making a few people angry as if I am endorsing slavery and most of those getting angry have heard me out and are making assumptions based on the Western Thinking and the evil slavery model of American History.

Income Sources

With the help of modern inventions and the forming of cities and metropolitan areas in America and world less people are self-sufficient and have to settle for a job that pays an hourly wage.  For most of the history of man as we know it people were more self-sufficient and depending on where they lived cultivated a portion of their food, raised animals, hunted, or gathered directly from nature.  People developed skills and sold their services to others or bartered for the things they needed to survive. There are few people in America that are self-sufficient in the way people were for thousands of years most of us depend on an hourly wage.  There are lots of business owners as well that live an often difficult life but yet with more freedom than those enslaved to an hourly job.  You may be getting the picture now that an hourly job often feels and in many ways resembles the master-slave relationship we all know from slave history here in America.

Slavery from the Bible

First of all the slavery that was found in American was never practiced by God’s people in the Bible. Slavery in the Bible was one of two forms the first being it was a way to pay off a debt or because you had nothing to survive.

Leviticus 25:39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: 40  But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile:

The second form of slavery from the Bible was when an enemy of Israel and God was captured they were made a slave force.

Joshua 9:21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.

The way African people were hunted down and captured completely for the purpose of making them a slave was and is barbaric and nothing like the slavery in the Bible. The slave-master relationship in the Bible was about letting a person with nothing have a way to work off their debt and survive while providing an economic benefit to their master.  There was an end in sight for Biblical slavery and even a way for the servant to remain in place if they loved the master and become a bond-servant.  Those that were enslaved through war were there because their lives were spared in the war and were a product of war not an intentional attempt to form a free labor force. Under no circumstances were servants to be treated poorly as outlined in the Levitical law.  If a servant was injured they were to be set free with no regard to the debt they owed.

Exodus 21:26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27  And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

Even in the New Testament the language of slavery is found with the terms master and servants.

 

Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

I am sure some of you are wondering why am I bringing all this up and I am not promoting slavery, I am trying to show that way most of us work is in the same manner of the master-servant roles and some of the same abuses of slavery exist with just different names.

Abuse In American Slavery and the American Work Force

If you study slavery in America and list the restrictions to life that slavery commonly put on people you will find that the same restrictions to a degree are on most of us today that work by the hourly wage.  If you have the skill and determination and are willing to make sacrifices we have freedom in America to become entrepreneurs and be our own bosses or work hard at an hourly job and buy a place that we could be self-sufficient more often than not people settle for the hourly wage.  Like slavery the hourly wage and 40 hours sets a limit on your life.  Because you have to do your servant duties you can’t always further your education to do yourself better.  The kind of hourly wage you parents served with, determined the kind of education you have and the environment you grew up in. If you work hard for years you might get a better servant position and have a little better slave life.  A minimum wage job is just too great of an example of slavery requiring all your time and not allowing enough resources to get ahead in life.  Just like slavery, an hourly job determines where you live, how much free time you have, what you can do for fun, how you can or can’t have a family, and how well you can be educated.  How many children leave home because the hourly wages they are seeking are not found in their community, not as extreme but not far from a child being sold to a slave owner in another state.

Benevolent Masters

The Bible demands believers to treat everyone well and especially those that have power over others, whether in leadership or a master-servant relationship. I hate using the words “Master” and “Servant” since they are so tainted by American history but they are the words used in the Bible. Previously I posted the passage from Colossian 4:1 how leaders are commanded to treat those they are in charge of well because they are going to have to answer to God, the ultimate master one day. Power and position as a believer is about an opportunity to bless others, not lord over them.  When leadership comes our way we must have great respect for our position and use it wisely to accomplish our goals and bless the people as well.  We are living in a world where many companies are taking on the benevolent master role and are really trying to take care of their employees with wellness programs, flex-schedules, and even higher education incentives.  Many small business owners have practice this way too looking for good workers and not holding them back in life.

More, Unions, The Entrepreneur

I am going to stop here but I will continue on this subject next week and maybe for a couple more weeks.  Obviously we quit any job any time we want here in America if we are willing to face to the consequences of no income so it’s not quite like slavery but remember potential consequences is what kept many slaves on American plantations too. My goal is to provoke thought about how we are in Christ and bring that godly behavior to the work environment whether we are the servant or the master.

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